Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Devotionals for the Heart: A Life Lesson Learned from Cultivating Soil

Cultivated Soil
A devotional by Sharon Musgrove

“He that tilleth his land shall be satisfied with bread: but he that followeth vain persons is void of understanding.” ~Proverbs 12:11 (KJV)

It’s growing season where I come from. Life is springing up everywhere. I’m behind in my gardening, barely having touched my vegetable beds. Just because I haven't worked my soil does not, however, mean that nothing is growing in my garden. Weeds and snails are already thriving and reproducing at a rapid rate. Without me working to cultivate and keep the garden fruitful, all sorts of invasive species take hold.

Life is complicated that way. Not just in the backyard garden, but in our spiritual gardens, our hearts, as well. Scripture in both the Old and New Testament give us warning after warning, encouragement after encouragement in the cultivation of our hearts.

Because I want a fruitful harvest, I began clearing my garden this week. In fact, I was preparing a new bed that hadn’t previously been part of the garden. As I removed the weeds and sifted out the rocks, I was reminded of the Parable of the Sower found in Matthew 13. In this parable, a farmer scatters seeds over his fields and they fall on four types of soil…a hard footpath, shallow soil with underlying rock, soil containing weeds, and deep fertile soil. Only the deep fertile soil produces an abundant harvest. In teaching, I’ve used this parable for many years. It’s easy to understand and provides a good visual.

As I worked, God planted a new seed for thought. I ran my hand through the newly tilled soil and heard, “You know the soil is ready for seed when it moves easily in the hand of the gardener.” I had just taken ground that was bound by root balls and littered with stones and was now running my hand through it with ease. Yes, I knew exactly what He was saying. This soil moved with direction, was soft and warm to the touch. This is how I know my heart is ready for new planting from God. My heart is soft, warm and moves with ease. It feels like love.

When I hear from God in the physical things I do, I pick up my Bible and read His words. It helps me affirm and retain what He is saying. Surprisingly, it was the garden story in Genesis that stood out, not the Parable of the Sower!

Genesis 2:5 (KJV) speaks of the creation story and of a state without vegetation in part because “there was not a man to till the ground.” In verse 15, the Lord put man into the garden of Eden “to dress it and keep it,” as well as Genesis 3:23 (KJV) stating, “…the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.”

We may think the Parable of the Sower is a clever story to help us understand that we have hard hearts or have thorns growing within us, but Genesis reveals that part of our purpose is to cultivate! God put Adam in a place of responsibility to continue what He started…to maintain and increase the fruitfulness of the garden…of humanity! If we do not continue to work our ground and “keep it,” then we don’t get to keep it! We lose ground.

This is evident in the consequence of Adam’s sin in both the exile from Eden and the cursing of the ground. What began for Adam as a life enjoying the fruitful trees God planted transitioned to laboring against thorns and thistles. To ignore our responsibility in maintaining loving hearts is a symptom of believing the lies that began in Eden. Proverbs 12:11 (KJV) states, “following a vain person.”

The wisdom in Proverbs foretells all! “He that tills the soil of his heart will be satisfied with bread.” While Genesis talks of the physical, “by the sweat of your face you will eat bread,” the Good News from Jesus is, “I am the bread of life: He that cometh to me shall never hunger…” (John 6:35 KJV). 
 It’s all the motivation I need to keep cultivating my soil! 

Author Bio:
Sharon Musgrove is a self-proclaimed sociologist. The opportunities opened to her, over the years, have led her on a fascinating journey observing human behavior. 

She has a diverse background in business, fitness and health industries. This background led her to a unique position writing curriculum and teaching for two private, Christ-based, residential recovery programs. Both recovery programs served women primarily from the homeless community.

Sharon has traveled multiple times to Kenya, serving on medical teams and teaching in the rural Maasai communities. She's been privileged to participate in Leadership camps for maturing young women. These annual camps have a mission of encouraging and empowering the impoverished, underprivileged, and often abused young Maasai girls.

Easily identifying personally with the brokenness of the women she's served, Sharon now sees all people as needing more encouragement regardless of cultural or socioeconomic status. Within these ministries, Sharon has witnessed the transformative power of loving words spoken to the broken-hearted. Sharing God’s love and witnessing its transformative power has become her passion.

In her leisure time, Sharon enjoys her garden, health food, travel, and a good story. She and her husband, Jeff, make their home in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. They have two grown children. Currently, Sharon is writing her first Christian historical fiction novel utilizing her study, experience, and understanding of self-destructive behaviors.

1 comment:

  1. Your writing is insightful and inspiring. Blessings


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