Don't be deceived: God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows he will also reap, because the one who sows to his flesh will reap corruption from the flesh, but the one who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life from the Spirit. So we must not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don't give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, we must work for the good of all, especially for those who belong to the household of faith. – Galatians 6:7-10 HCSB

This year, I am ramping up my gardening efforts. I expanded our family’s garden to include nearly a quarter of our yard and purchased thirty six different vegetables to plant. Being nearly completely vegetarian, my need to feed on the fruit of the ground is considerably more involved than the average, run-of-the-mill tomato gardener.

I spent a lot of effort throughout the winter composting our kitchen waste. Nearly every day, I have chopped up all our food scraps, the left over bits of carrots and celery that we don’t eat and the spoiled lettuce heads. All of it was faithfully rendered down to a pulp that was religiously mixed into the compost pile. All this effort was motivated by an understanding that the quality of the vegetables will be driven by the quality of the soil in which they are raised.

Soil is different from dirt. Dirt is the nasty stuff that gets on your carpets. Dirt is the stuff you try to keep off your Sunday clothes. Soil, on the other hand, is beautiful. It is a complex web composed of billions of living organisms.

Each of us has soil in our lives. That soil is composed of all our actions, thoughts, intents and the interactions we have with others. It forms a matrix of beliefs, habits and thought patterns. The quality of our life’s soil determines in large part the quality of our fruit.

Yahweh commanded the prophet Isaiah to, “Tell the righteous that it will go well [for them], for they will eat the fruit of their deeds. Woe to the wicked-[it will go] badly [for them], for what they have done will be done to them.”[1]

Jesus clarified this principle of reciprocity when He taught, “It's not what goes into the mouth that defiles a man, but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man."[2] We can’t help but produce works that mirror our heart condition.[3] We get so focused on our daily outward religious behavior that we neglect to guard our hearts.[4] We fail to remember that it is out of the abundance of our hearts that our actions find impetus.[5]

Every day we add to the soil of our lives whether for good or ill. What are you throwing onto your life’s compost pile?

[1] Isaiah 3:10-11 HCSB

[2] Matthew 15:11 HCSB

[3] Luke 6:45

[4] Proverbs 4:23

[5] Matthew 12:34-35