Hooray for spring! The roses are finally budding with the coming of warmer weather. “Purple wallflower bushes” cheerful pansies and bright impatiens form a kaleidoscope of color against the backdrop of kelly green, rain drenched hills. What a feast for the eyes! I’m reminded once again of the creativity of our artist-Creator.

It’s too bad I haven’t taken the time yet this season to plant the very flowers I love to enjoy. The garden spot in front of our white picket fence is the perfect location to enjoy some daisies or cosmos. If I don’t make time to clear and till the soil, fertilize it, plant my flowers and tend them, I won’t fulfill the vision I have for my garden, not for this season at least! It will pass me by before I’ve noticed it.

Hmmm., There seems to be a biblical principle in all this. Ah, yes, 2 Corinthians 9:6. “He who sows sparingly shall also reap sparingly; and he who sows bountifully shall also reap bountifully.” If I want to grow a cottage garden filled with colorful blossoms, I have to create the right environment for them to thrive.

Think of your home as the garden spot and your children as the plants. What kind of growth are you looking for in your children? Does the way you live promote that growth? Do the activities that fill your lives reinforce your priorities? Do you have enough reserves of time, money and energy to meet the needs of your loved ones? Think of where you live, how you spend your time, and how you organize your family. Think of your desires for your plants and garden, your children and home.

Recently I heard of a dynamic demonstration in which a speaker stood behind a table on which was a large jar and a container of rocks. He filled the jar with rocks and asked if the audience thought the jar was full. When they replied, “Yes,” he took a box of pebbles from under the table and managed to fit many of them in the spaces between the large rocks. Was the jar full? The audience replied, “Yes.” But the speaker produced a canister of sand and poured a great deal of sand into the jar between the large and small rocks. Finally, he showed that the full jar could hold even more by pouring a pitcher of water into it.

What are the “big rocks” in your life? Be sure that they get put into your jar first or they will never fit after the pebbles and sand and water are there. Our focus should be on things that are truly important, such as reflective time with God, building relationships, learning new skills, renewing our vision, planning, studying and moving toward our goals. There are so many activities, interests, opportunities and problems vying for our attention that we can easily get side¬≠tracked.

We need to remember that our children are made in the image of God and are not just containers to be filled with progressive knowledge, or we’ll wake up one day and look outside and realize we’ve missed the season to plant and nurture the things that have true eternal value.

Now, where is that garden spade … ?

Copyright 1999. Eileen Shaffer. Reprinted by CHEA of California with permission of the author.

This article was originally published in the SELAH Christian Schools’ newsletter in Santa Clara County.