For myself, and several of my close friends, New Year’s Eve is a time of celebrating, but also a time of remembering where we’ve been. It started 5 years ago on a road trip across the country. We spent New Year’s Eve in the town of Goodyear, Arizona, and we spent a lot of time talking about where we’ve been, where we’d like to go, and where God is working in us. Something unique came out of that experience. For the first time, we set a theme for the upcoming year. At the time it was a theme that resonated with where we were all at, and meant a great deal for us. From that point on, every year you can find us together debriefing our years and setting a new theme. The themes have varied over the years, whether it be, “The Year of Being Direct,” or “The Year of No Excuses,” or our current theme, “The Year of the Garden.”
As we were thinking through this new theme, it seemed appropriate for where our lives were heading, full of new endeavors, and for some of us, continuing on, doing what we’ve been doing. The Year of the Garden brought a profound picture to our minds. A picture of planting. A picture of tending and working. Overall, a picture of cultivating. For us, we saw our new year as a plot of land. We could either choose to plant and tend our garden, or we could sit back and do nothing with it. The funny thing about all of this is that the garden is completely reliant on God for anything to happen at all. For some of us, this means we need to plant something new, and for some of us this means we need to tend and cultivate what is already there. Either way, we need to do some work, and see how God will work through it.
I feel like a garden is a great image for our spiritual journeys as well. You have the ability to not do anything with your garden, but then it’s just an empty plot of land. But you also have the option to plant and tend your garden, and with God’s blessing, the rain will fall, your plants will sprout, and you’ll have a bustling crop. So if we lay our spiritual walk aside and don’t pour into it, it will likely remain distant and barren, but if we pour into our spiritual lives, taking time to be in God’s word, and taking time to pray and be in community, we will be amazed what God can do. I’ve heard it said, “the grass is greener where you water it,” so my encouragement is to invest in your garden, and see what God will do.
So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. 1 Corinthians 3:7-8
- Jake Houf