But more than therapeutic, for me gardening is also spiritual. It reminds me that I need to pull out the weeds in my spiritual life before they choke the good things growing in my heart. One of my favourite garden analogies in the Bible is in Psalm 1: "But their delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law they meditate day and night. They are like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not whither. Whatever he does prospers." In fact, part of the reason I wanted to name our son 'Oliver' is because it reminds me of an olive tree that does just this. I want his roots to grow into God's stream of goodness and mercy, so that his life can yield good fruit.
This morning, I heard another gardening analogy in church - our Pastor mentioned something he had read that likened the church to a compost heap: keep it all in a pile for too long and it starts to stink (in science speak, it means your heap starts anaerobic respiration because there's not enough oxygen)! But spread it around and it can help new life grow to its fullest. It only needs to stay in the pile long enough for it to turn into something useful - then it needs to be spread around for maximum impact!
I'm sometimes struck by how selfish we Christians can be: "we need to help us first before we can help others...what about me? I need to be fed!...etc, etc, ad nauseum" and while there is some validity in the statements (the scraps and dung in the compost heap do need to be together for a while to change into something productive), a lot of people appear to forget that we are blessed to be a blessing!
So if you grow a garden, don't keep it all to yourself! Give because the Lord has given to you more than you can even imagine. If you are blessed financially, don't keep it all to yourself! Sponsor a child, heck, sponsor a whole village! Sponsor a young adult trying to go to university in a foreign country (you never know, he/she could be the president of Sri Lanka someday :). Give to the food bank, because a lot of people really do need the respite it offers.
Don't just sit around in the stinky compost heap and expect your life to be useful. That'll just make you smell like dung.