Some of you may know that I love to garden. I also love house plants. Over the past few years I have been trying to systematically replace all my old fake plants with real live plants.
I knew in order to do it well, on a budget, and in a way to be able to keep up with them, I had to do it one or two at a time.
I often post about my plants on FB and word has gotten around that many of my plants have been given to me by friends who know I love them. Often they are plants they no longer want and are ready to give away.
The more I am gifted and post about it, the more I am given. It is wonderful!
Also, I propagate many of my plants. Of course the philodendrons are an easy vine to propagate. I have several vines I’ve had success with. There are a few other plants as well that I have tried and it has worked for me.
Part of my success is that I have and continue, to watch some very successful and knowledgeable gardeners on YouTube. Even though opinions often vary widely, they all agree on one thing, the soil is a critical key in the survival and growth of the plant.
Through the years companies who sell various soil to the consumer have tested their soil and modified it to create the best environment for plants. You can find a wealth of different types of packaged soil to buy for your particular need.
If you want success in growing plants you must not dismiss the importance of soil.
The bible talks about planting and soil often. We know that to have faith we need good soil and we must cultivate that seed of faith that we have been given.
There is other soil though that I want to talk about today.
This is the everyday soil that we all surround ourselves with. Last week I wrote about the most toxic contagion. With our words we spread massive amounts of contagion every single day. We have a choice about what we say and how we say it to spread positive and beneficial contagions or destructive and demoralizing ones.
It is our choice what we spread. But, there is a key element that will either keep us from being able to choose the right thing, or will keep us mired in toxin.
That is the soil we are planted in.
There is an old saying that seemed novel back when I was a computer science major in college. That saying was true then and it is still true today.
Garbage In Garbage Out
Whatever is fed into or programed into a computer will determine what will come out. The same is true for us. What are we watching on TV? Who are we spending time with? What are we discussing with our friends? What thoughts are we allowing our minds to dwell on? What are we reading?
Any source that inputs data into us is soil we are growing in.
Let’s look again with that fresh insight at the Parable of the Sower in the book of Mark.
14“The sower sows the word. 15“These are the ones who are beside the road where the word is sown; and when they hear, immediately Satan comes and takes away the word which has been sown in them.
16“In a similar way these are the ones on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy; 17and they have no firm root in themselves, but are only temporary; then, when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately they fall away.
18“And others are the ones on whom seed was sown among the thorns; these are the ones who have heard the word, 19but the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. 20“And those are the ones on whom seed was sown on the good soil; and they hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.”
I’ve included the portion where Jesus is explaining this to the disciples rather than the verses before where he was actually giving the parable.
This is all about seeds, plants, growth, and roots. In my experience it is so much easier to repot a thriving plant, or to take a cutting off of a healthy plant and encourage it to grow roots. The hardest thing for me is to take a simple seed and grow it. Mature plants, like mature Christians, are much sturdier to the elements of nature.
With seeds it may all start out fine in a tiny calculated environment. With the right soil and light I can get a seed to germinate and grow. But, I will be honest with you, I have never successfully been able to take that small seedling and transplant it out into my garden.
It can be and is done all the time. Those gardeners have patience and the skill to nurture and train that seedling to withstand the harshness of the world outside. I haven’t as of yet.
If a seed is sown directly outside, the birds often come and pluck it right up for food and it never even gets a chance. That could be like verse 14 where the enemy soon plucks away the seed.
Then we may get a seedling to germinate. But, if we attempt to put it out into the world too soon, it will be only temporary and will immediately die when affliction or persecution comes its way.
Getting that seedling to the right strong stage indoors can be challenging. It can only flourish so long in that small container with limited food content and environmental conditions. At some point it will have to be replanted.
If it is intended to be a houseplant, then the environment may change very little, but the food source, the soil will grow and hopefully contain room and food for the roots to grow large and strong.
If that same seedling is to be planted outside, then it must be conditioned to handle the hardships it will face.
The right way to do this is to expose the seedling to its final environment a little at a time. It must be allowed to experience the wind, the heat, the sun, and the critters, that will will eventually grow in and amongst.
By conditioning the plant a little at a time, the roots grow strong. The stems grow strong. Little by little they become so strong that they can fully withstand what their environment will bring.
Seeds cannot be planted in poor soil with other plants that will be aggressive and overpower them. In verse 18 it talks about seeds being sown in thorny ground. This refers to aggressive weeds that push in and overpower. Only strong mature plants can hold their own against them.
Verse 19 refers to a seed that does take root, but is unfruitful because of the ‘cares of this life’. No matter the plant, it must be fed, cared for, and maintained. Even weeds will die in the harshest of climates.
I referred to the previous blog The Most Toxic Contagion earlier. As I said, we have a choice what contagion we spread. We can spread good and encouraging words, or not. But it will simply be a force of will that is only sporadically successful if we are not rooted in good soil and routinely fed and nurtured.
To make that shift from spreading toxic contagions, change your soil. What are you feeding on? A tiny dose of one bible verse here or there is not consistent food. A short sermon on Sunday morning is not good consistent food. Not when compared to the massive about of hours spent listening to and engaging in toxic garbage from various sources.
If you really want to change, if you really want God’s transformative power to flourish and bear fruit in your life, you must make the choice to change your soil. Change what you are reading. Change what you are listening to. Change what you are watching. Change who you are spending time with.
You cannot spend your time in poor soil and expect to live, thrive, and be fruitful.
I want to encourage you to leave me any comments below. They are so encouraging and motivating to me.
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