I always thought that when you start something new, you should progressively get better and better at it. Well, unfortunately that has not quite been the case so far with my gardening hobby. I am in my third year now and I must admit that I had my best results my first year. Not only was I a rookie but that was also the same year we had a really bad drought all summer.
So, what was the difference? As I reflected on it, I realized the difference was that I tended the garden with daily diligence that first year. Every morning I was out there watering each and every plant, pruning, cutting off dead branches, fighting off pests, picking fruit and pulling weeds. This summer I decided to set up an automatic soaker hose system and I've pretty much left it alone. After being gone for about a 10 day trip I came back and found the garden quite the disaster.
There were weeds, vines and briars that had mingled with the plants. There were places where the soaker hose wasn't watering very well. There were all kinds of bugs just feasting on my tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers. There were squash plants that had been choked out because other plants had not been properly pruned. It was a mess.
You know our relationships are like that garden as well. If we don't daily tend our relationships, they end up in big messes. The first step is to allow God to tend to our hearts. The Bible says in John 15 that God is the gardener, Jesus is the vine and we are the branches. We need to daily allow ourselves to be washed, pruned, and shaped by God's Spirit working with God's Word in our lives.
As a husband, my next relationship to tend is my marriage. Husband comes from the word, husbandman or farmer. I must daily tend to my wife's heart and connect with her world and care for her and nurture her. Next I must tend to my children, like plants, and help shape them, protect them, train them, and guide them. The daily attention dedicated to tending these relationships helps protect against pests, maintains good health, and will result in a spiritual harvest.