"Tending lives"

Liberia's civil war ended in 2003, but the scars still linger on the streets of its capital, Monrovia. That tangle of weeds and concrete used to be a fountain, that mound of rubble was once a radio station, and that pockmarked building was an office. As my host pointed out one devastation after another, we felt like the Pevensie children returning to the ruins of Cair Paravel in Prince Caspian or Will Smith surveying what was left of the world in I Am Legend. The destruction was depressing, especially for those who remembered the way things were.

The upkeep of our belongings and homes requires constant attention. We must continually wash, weed, and repair our property. Take a month off, whether from inattention or war, and the entropy of nature begins to take over.

The same is true of our personal lives. Our bodies need exercise to stay fit, our minds need stimulating books and conversation to remain sharp, and our souls must cultivate the spiritual disciplines to keep in step with God. Just as it is harder to contact an old friend whose trail has grown cold, so it becomes more difficult to read the Bible and pray when we fail to practice faith-building disciplines.

Jesus said that His kingdom is like seed that fell on rocky, thorny, and good soil. Rocky people lack depth and so wilt under pressure, thorny people allow the "worries of this life and the lure of wealth" to choke out the gospel, while faithful Christians bear fruit, "thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted" (Matthew 13:22-23).

The difference lies not in the seed but in the soil. If the garden of your life is overgrown with weeds and littered with stones, don't despair. Seek God's strength and wisdom as you till the soil. , Mike Wittmer, Our Daily Journey

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