One hour’s worth of work in the skin-scouring cold wind, and all I had to show for it was one six-pack of pansies planted under the cherry tree.
It’s not that I’m slow; well, not really. It’s not that I was digging great big holes for each one, and carefully spreading the roots around a soil mound concocted of a precise mix of humus and organic fertilizers and soil conditioners.
Nope. Just putting the smallest sized plants in around the roots, in the smallest holes that I dare make near the aging tree’s feeder roots, and in many cases simply mounding decayed mulch around the roots on top of the existing soil. It was one of those jobs that was prioritized to get done quickly, since the mild temperatures would not last much longer.
Why did it take so long to accomplish a chore that I’ve done a dozen times, that will ensure a pretty border in front of the daffodils come springtime?
First, there is the removal of the vinca that was killed by the early frosts. Then, the weeds must be pulled carefully without hurting those roots. I’m a little protective of this old tree; it has been through a lot, and it seems to be struggling.
There are also a few patches of sedum that look nice all summer, so their roots must be put back into the soil when they come out with the weeds.
Through all this, my overturned milk crate that I use for low seating must be moved to the next spot without hurting the existing plants.
Over all, the preparation is about eighty percent of the job!
This is the case with many tasks; gardening, cooking, missions, and even medical procedures.
Have you ever wondered why the Old Testament is so much larger than the New Testament?
“Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith” (Galatians 3:24, NASB).
“The law” referred to the first five books of the Old Testament, but in a broader sense the whole thing was a guidebook for the nation of Israel in order to pave the way for God to send his own Son to save the world.
As his coming ministry drew near, a designated preacher performed even more prep work, as foretold in the Old Testament (Luke 3:1-7).
We also have some preparation to do.
“Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13).
The focus of our own preparation for grace brought to us is in our minds! If our minds are not prepared, the rest won’t matter.
Jesus is, by far, the most joyous example of “prep work.” The preparation he does is in his Father’s house.
“In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:2-3).
As we enter the new year with new plans and new goals, remember that the preparation for action starts in the mind and heart. With a serious spirit, let our hopes and aspirations and goals be all about the grace of God. Not just for us, but bringing that grace to others, as well.
Have a blessed new year!