Phillip and Jaci

The life and times of Phillip and Jaclyn Jackson

About

Phillip and Jaclyn Jackson are musicians in West Palm Beach. They are Christian artists with a passion for music, life and the rhythms that interconnect both.

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I was outside just yesterday as Jaci and I were spending the early evening hours working in our yard. It’s so funny that when we first moved into the house just 5 months ago we were out there every day – pruning, replanting, putting down fresh mulch and putting in nice flowers! But it seems the last few weeks have given way to distractions.

My dad has been pretty ill. I have had a very busy work schedule lately and we’ve had the joy of multiple visits from friends and family coming over and… well, you get the point. Somehow over the weeks we just stopped going outside to water and tend the garden as much as we used to. And now our ficus hedge is ill and dying, our flowers have all but suffered sun stroke and our grass is getting overrun by weeds again.

What’s amazing is that, even in the middle of summer, we had 3 weeks of almost no rain here in Florida. If you know what it’s like here it rains almost every day! As a homeowner you tend to take it for granted; you don’t need to move the sprinkler around and get doused by the rusty water in the hose. It is glorious. (I never thought that I would enjoy rain!)

So there we were: uprooting weeds, plucking out dead flowers, planting fresh ones, when it struck me that this is an incredible spiritual parallel. Sometimes I can get so jazzed and hyped up for Jesus and my walk with Him is so close that I am out in that garden every single day – I uproot weeds and water my thirsty spirit. But then life happens. Gets in the way. And wouldn’t you know that at the same time a terrible drought comes in and kills all of my flowers. And the bugs move in and kill my ficus. (My spiritual ficus, that is.) To be sure, this is more than just convenient timing! Weeds and bugs and the hot sun are always there waiting to move in, but I wasn’t prepared for the drought and the bugs in the first place because I hadn’t really committed to a lifestyle of spiritual gardening.

Then I thought to myself – If you’re a gardener you probably watch the TV shows and read the magazines and visit nurseries on a regular basis. You probably have plans and designs for what you want your garden to eventually look like. But the fact is, as Christians, there are those of us who rarely even consider God outside of our Sunday ritual.  And there are even fewer of us who have actual designs and plans of where we want to be and what we want to look like in the future as a child of the Almighty.

I turned on the radio as I was showering the dirt off of my legs from pushing the lawn mower around my dusty front lawn and to my surprise there was a teacher that was echoing the same thoughts I was having. I’ll paraphrase but in effect he said:

There are two ways you can make a tree bare fruit. You can go to the supermarket where it’s already been picked and washed, take it home, and tape it to a tree. Or you can nurture a healthy plant so that it produces the fruit naturally. The problem is that from a distance they both look like the same thing.

If you had seen my front yard from an overhead shot on Google Earth you probably wouldn’t have noticed a thing. But if I had invited you over to my house just a few days ago you might have immediately recognized that my grass was too long, weeds were creeping in, and my impatients were about to meet their Maker.

I pray that, in my life, I would be constantly challenged to be a prudent, diligent gardener of my spiritual walk. I don’t want to spend this existence on earth in a cycle of peaks and valleys; times where my lawn looks good and times where you might as well just bring in new sod…. I want to live a life for God that is so pleasing and so fruitful that no matter how close or how far you are to me that the fruit I produce is natural and healthy just the same.

I don’t want a fabricated faith or a façade that I keep up for the sake of appearances. I want a real, true, revelation of Christ that makes me a better Christian – and a more diligent gardener.

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