Monday, October 31, 2016

An Introduction To Soil Conditioning

I have always wanted a vegetable garden, but gardens are work. When they say, "He's out working in the garden," they're telling the truth. It takes a lot of work to till, plant, water, thin, fertilize and weed in such a way that a crop is produced; especially if you're going to go organic and not use artificial fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides. There's nothing more frustrating than doing all that work and then getting no vegetables.

We bought a little house in Abilene several years after we were married. The yard was small, and we started working on it. I tilled up a section of the backyard for my garden. This was the first garden I had planted in many years. The soil was terrible, composed entirely of red clay that turned to brick when it dried out. I tilled, planted, watered, then watched the garden (and the grass) grow. Then guess what? Nothing. I got a few tomatoes, but mostly I just got disappointed.

I studied, talked to successful gardeners, and went to work again. I found out that I needed to condition the soil in order for the garden to grow. So, I bought a truckload of sandy-loam, bags and bags of organic material, and went to work again. Later that summer my tomatoes were so huge that I turned them into a kind of arbor that arched over onto itself so that I could walk in the shade picking buckets of the juicy things. 

Some of us who are concerned about the church are working extremely hard. As attendance becomes more and more spotty, conversions decrease, and spiritual affections cool, we work even harder. Jesus and the Apostles often used farming illustrations to teach spiritual truths. I believe there was a reason beyond the agrarian culture into which the message of the Word was first delivered. I believe our hearts and churches are very much like soil. What God intends to do in us requires hard work, but very often more hard work is not what's needed. We simply need to enrich the soil.

So, for the next few posts, I'll be sharing some things I've learned about spiritual soil conditioner. If you're a regular reader, let me ask you a couple of questions to get you thinking. Have you ever worn yourself out trying to make something spiritual happen?  Have you ever become disappointed, or even angry with someone who wasn't working as hard as you are to do things at church?

(Part 1 - Spiritual Soil Conditioning)