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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Empty space demands to be filled

I don't know about you, but we are ready to begin our planting season here in Arizona.  If we don't get the seeds in soon, the weather will turn so hot so quick that any new growth will just be scorched under the hot sun.  So, this weekend I began cleaning up the garden, trimming away any frosted leaves and turning the soil.  All the raised beds are ready to receive the early summer crops and some fresh plantings of budding flowers.  I still have one or two beds out front to finish, but in general, I am ready for the "growing season".  True to form, I made my little venture to the local nursery and found some flowering plants I wanted, a few packets of seeds to get me started and a little extra soil for another project I am working on.  The place was packed!  Others had the same idea obviously - it was the beginning of planting season.  One thing I noted though was how the sales clerk announced they had nearly sold out of weed killer.  What?  It is just the beginning of the season and we are already emptying the shelves of weed killer?  Why?  Well, we enjoyed a very wet winter, so in response, the desert floor is alive with growth!  All manner of weeds, wild flower and the like is coming into growth - some seeds having laid dormant for who knows how long just waiting this day.  This is how it is with seed - they may lay dormant for a while, but when the conditions are right for their growth, it happens!

Plant your seeds early in the morning and keep working in the field until dark. Who knows? Your work might pay off, and your seeds might produce. (Ecclesiastes 11:6 CEV)

Some seeds are very purposefully planted in our lives, right?  Seeds of learning, seeds of wisdom, and the like are some we might just say are "purposefully planted", while seeds of silliness and selfishness we might just say are "accidentally" there!  I daresay unless we keep a close watch over what we allow to grow within our lives, we will soon have a mix of both!  The problem is that we sometimes cannot differentiate between the two until we see the specific fruit it produces!  While I was working in the garden, a little nine year old head popped over the fence, just high enough for me to recognize it was my little neighbor.  She was all excited to see me out in the yard and struck up a conversation, nearly bending my ear for close to two hours while I put things in order.  As we talked, I explained a little about the plants I had in the garden, why I had planted them, how to trim them back so as not to hurt them, why I fertilized them, and the like.  In return, she brought me some "flowers" from her yard which she wanted me to have.  Then one by one I began to explain to her that what she was bringing to me was actually weed!

She thought they were flowers purposefully planted by her father - because he had planted seeds there a short time before.  What she didn't realize was that weed seeds are opportunistic!  They take advantage of "empty space" and "ripe conditions".  So, instead of the seeds her father had planted growing in the space he had created for his garden, he had some pretty flowering weeds! There is a lesson here for us.  We can "prepare" a place for growth to occur, but if we aren't vigilant about what springs up there, we might just be surprised to find out what begins to fill the space!  Empty space just demands being filled. If you don't believe me think about when you first moved into your home.  You had empty cupboards and closets just demanding to be filled up.  At first, you thought you had enough closet space and cabinets/cupboards galore!  You did not imagine you could use all the space!  How's that working for you today? Anybody besides me have to build extra cabinets in the garage or get a shed for the yard?  We have a tendency to accumulate stuff in our lives - physically and spiritually!

Whatever we accumulate needs a place or space.  This is true of all our growth - good or not so good!  What we fail to recognize is how opportunistic some "growth" in our lives actually is.  For example, if we think we will never reap a harvest of selfishness, think again.  Selfish seeds are opportunistic - given the space to grow, they will!  If we think we will never reap a harvest of fear, think again.  Fear springs up anytime we get our focus on the problem and off of God's face - we give room for the seeds to spring up and take root because we take our eye off what we should be focusing on in the first place!  Cultivate the space - but don't forget to keep an eye on what you allow to fill that void!  Just sayin!