A couple of weeks ago our sister Nani brought some plants to fill our beautiful garden. You do not know how many times people have stopped to admire and enjoy our garden. Every time they always make the same comment, “How beautiful!” I’d say that our church’s courtyard is one of the most beautiful and serene places around.
But it requires work and care to keep the plants alive and well. For instance, per Nani’s instruction, last Wednesday our gardener put in planting soil and within a day I could already see the difference—these plants look healthier and happier. Yes, it takes younger and healthier soil to grow healthier and happier plants. Alleluia!
James Lane Allen, the late 19th century American poet and writer, likens our mind to a garden. Listen to what he says, “Just as the gardener cultivates his plot . . . so may a man tend the garden of his mind, weeding out all the wrong, useless, and impure thoughts, and cultivating toward perfection the flowers and fruits of right, useful, and pure thoughts . . . . Thought and character are one . . . . Good thoughts bear good fruit, bad thoughts bad fruit . . . .” To conclude he then quotes from Proverbs 23:7, “As a man thinketh, so is he.”
Thought and character are one; our food for thought will eventually become the staple that produces our character. No wonder Paul strongly encourages us, "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8).
Life is not always good; words are not always kind; and we cannot always avoid them. But we can choose not to think about them.