Timmy threw a stick across the back yard and laughed as the German Shepherd scurried to retrieve it. “Good boy, Champ,” said Tim, squatting down to give his pet a hug. “You’re the best!”
“Hey Tim, come here a minute, please,” called Dad. “Your mom and I want to talk with you about our plans for a garden this year.”
“Now Dad? I just started playing with Champ,” said Tim.
“Your dog can wait,” said Mr. Miller. “This is important.”
Timmy patted Champ on the head and walked over to the large garden area of their yard. He was responsible for pulling the weeds every summer. Tim hated the job, but he loved the corn on the cob that grew there. Mrs. Miller smiled at Tim as he approached, “We have decided to do something special this year, dear,” she said.
“Does it mean more work for me?” he asked.
“Well, in a way, yes,” said his dad. “We are going to give you a space in the garden to grow whatever vegetables and flowers you want.”
“Do I still have to weed yours?” said Timmy.
“No, you won’t. We want you to care for your own patch of ground,” said his dad, putting his arm around the boy. “But there’s another reason we want you to learn about a garden.”“That’s right, Timmy,” said his mom. “Did you know that your heart is like a garden?”
Tim looked puzzled. “I don’t understand how my heart is like a bunch of dirt.”Mr. Miller grinned. “You will! While your mom and I show you about planting and caring for a garden, we’ll also teach you how Jesus plants His seeds in your heart when you read your Bible and go to Sunday School and church,” said his dad. Mom handed Dad a small spade. He knelt down and dug a scoop of dirt.
“See, Tim, how dark this soil is and how easily it breaks apart?” said Dad. “Feel it.”
Tim knelt by his dad and took a handful of dirt from the spade. A broad grin spread across his face. “Hey, this isn’t going to be so bad. I can dig in the dirt, and I won’t get in trouble if I get dirty,” he said. His dad chuckled and gave Tim a squeeze.
“To have a good garden, Timmy, the soil has to be good. Some dirt is clay, which is sticky when it’s wet and hard as a rock when it dries out,” said his dad. “Plants have a very difficult time growing in that kind of dirt and usually die. Our soil is dark and crumbly and easy to dig so seeds grow well.”
“Okay, but I still don’t see how my heart is like this handful of dirt,” said Tim as he dumped the dirt he was holding.
“Jesus wants to grow great things in our lives, like we grow delicious vegetables and flowers in our garden,” said Mom. “When you read your Bible and learn about Jesus, it is like He is planting seeds in your heart by telling you how to live.”
Nodding his head, Mr. Miller said, “When you obey Jesus, then the soil of your heart is good and will produce a godly life, which is like good vegetables, fruits and flowers. The Bible says, ‘I have hidden Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against You.’”
“Oh yeah! I see now,” said Tim. “How cool!" Taking the shovel from his dad’s hand, he scooped up some soil. “I want my heart to be good dirt so God’s seeds can grow in my heart’s garden.”