Hosea 10:12 Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until he comes and showers righteousness on you. (NIV)
I love to plant a garden each Spring. In fact, I have the hardest time waiting until it is late enough to plant. We usually have a warm spell that makes me think it is OK to plant, but, inevitably it will get cold one last time before it is really Spring. This year I did go ahead and plant, and then we had a late frost. I had to go out and cover all the plants. It was hard work to keep them protected.
But not as much hard work as it takes just to get the garden ready. I used to have to dig up the dirt with a shovel. If you have never done that, let me tell you, it is a work out. My Dad blessed me by giving me his rotor-tiller when he moved. Now it is a joy, but it is still work. Well, why not just do a fast job and move on to the fun part - planting? Well, I'll tell you. If you do not plow the dirt deep enough the soil will remaining hard and compacted, and the roots of the newly forming plants just won't be able to break through. Once I have run the tiller, I have to rake all the weeds out of the garden. If I get lazy and skip this step, or if I just do it half-way, the weeds will be able to root themselves and continue to grow.
Isn't this just like our lives? We are soil and we get hard and compacted by selfishness and sin. This moves us farther and farther away from God. When we resist His work in our lives our soil will get harder and harder, choking out the good fruit bearing trees in our lives. The weeds of this life will come in and choke us off from God and we will wither and die. But tilling is such hard work! Yes, but the Master Gardener knows His stuff! He knows how to get the best and the most fruit from us if we will but yield to His loving hand. Tilling hurts, pruning hurts, but we will grow and flourish!