Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Fruit of Neglect

I love flowers and I love flower gardens! 
Many years ago, I took a Master Gardener's class at a local university. 
In my past life, I had lots of gardens and loved the time I spent working in them.
I love to weed!! 
Yes, I do! 
To me, there is something very therapeutic about pulling out those "suckers" and throwing 'em out!!
As I've gotten older, I still love flowers and still love gardens, but find I don't have the time and energy to work at them like I used to.
I have a small flower garden on the side of my home that I have cultivated since I moved here a little over six years ago.  It's big enough to meet my need to "play in the dirt", but not too big to be overwhelming to care for.  I have lots of planted pots which I love to move around during the summer to make the prettiest view.  I love the colors and the variety of plants that make up a garden.

But this summer, something happened. 
I don't know if I was too busy, away too much, or just plain lazy, but I didn't tend to my garden the way I usually do. 
At the beginning of the summer, I hurt my shoulder and so my granddaughter was watering the garden for me.  Then she went away for a week and I guess I just forgot I needed to do it. 
Anyway, it didn't get done!
And the fruit of that neglect is not pretty!

As I walked by these very neglected plants one day, it reminded me of what our hearts must look like when they are not tended.  When we get too busy, grow lazy or just plain forget,the garden of our heart suffers from lack of care.
When we neglect our devotional time, when we neglect to practice His presence, when we neglect time in His Word, our hearts dry up and wither, too.
Our spirits grow hungry and thirsty for nourishment.
"My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings.  Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart.  For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh."
Proverbs 4:21, 22
"They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them."
Isaiah 49:10
"And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that comes to me shall never hunger; and he that believes on me shall never thirst."
John 6:35
It is recorded in Scripture of a time when the disciples were encouraging Jesus to get some nourishment.  They supposed He must surely be hungry.  He told them He "had meat to eat that they knew not of."  He was talking about the "meat" He received directly from the Father as He took the time to spend with Him.
This is the "meat" our spirits need, too, if we are to grow and prosper in Him.  As we feast on Him daily, our souls grow rich in grace, wisdom and truth. 
We are filled to overflowing. 
And it's out of that overflowing that we can share His love with others.
But when we neglect to feed our spirits, we dry up, wither and become desolate.  When others look to us for spiritual food, we have no reservoir to minister out of.
"Blessed is the man that walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful.
But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law does he meditate day and night.
And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he does shall prosper."
Psalm 1:1-3

It's easy to get caught up in the busyness of life.  Some days I find myself going from one commitment to the next and I don't have time to eat lunch.  By mid afternoon, I am not only really hungry, but I am tired and find myself with low energy. 

My body has no nourishment to convert into energy.

When I don't feed my spirit, I grow hungry and tired in spirit and find myself succumbing to grumpiness, impatience, laziness, I get annoyed easily - all signs (fruit) of neglect.

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law."
Galatians 5:22

The fruit of neglect or the fruit of the Spirit?
You choose!


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