Saturday, June 11, 2005

Making “Good Soil”—Matt. 13:8; Mark 4:8; Luke 8:8

Several years ago I started a garden and resolved to make the soil as rich as possible. It didn’t happen overnight or through a fixed program, but took years of adding different types of organic materials, known as “amendments” by serious gardeners, to the soil at different times in different ways.

Sometimes that occurred in big steps. One year I tilled in six or eight inches of finely ground leaves. Other years, I added truckloads of raw manure when I put my garden “to bed” in the fall. Some springs I supplemented those autumnal additions with bags and bags of pre-composted manure.

But most amendments were more gradual and less direct. One winter I added a bucket of grounds from a coffee shop each week as I waited for spring. Several years I transplanted earthworms because their excrement adds additional nutrients. All year every year, I put used tea bags, other kitchen scraps, and yard waste into my compost pile to create rich humus for later addition to the garden.

The combined result was a gradual improvement of the soil—and the garden’s productivity. Although no step yielded instant results, each crop was noticeably better than the one before it and, as time went on, the garden became exponentially more fruitful than it was at the outset.

God works that way to make us into “good soil” producing “crop[s] multiplying thirty, sixty or even a hundred times.” Mark 4:8. Sometimes He adds His goodness in big doses, but mostly He enriches us a little every day, and a little more each Sunday, to give us what we need to produce what he wants. Scripture describes it well: "accumulation little by little is the way to wealth." Proverbs 13:8 (New Jerusalem Bible)

Those amendments come in various forms, from unpleasant circumstances that, like manure, really stink but produce tremendous enrichment, to more agreeable things that make different contributions.

Like the process for enriching physical soil, no one thing gets us all the way to where we need to be, but each addition works together with the others to enable us produce more and more over time. And when we look back at where we’ve come from, we're amazed at how much He’s multiplied our fruitfulness.

(Images about gardening or soil related themes were posted October 3c, November 21, December 8, 2004 and February 28, June 11, 13 and 24, 2005.
Images about diligence/perseverance in doing God’s will were posted on October 1, 3a, 8, and 17 and November 7, 2004 and January 10c, June 11, 13, and 18; July 15 and August 27, 2005.
Images about the process of growing/maturing in our walk with God were posted October 3a and 17, 2004; May 11, June 11 and 18; July 20, August 21 and 27; and October 3 2005.
Images about patience/waiting on God were posted October 1, November 21, December 8, 2004 and June 11, 18, and 24, 2005.)

No comments: