There is a lot of effort put forth to grow something. You need the right soil. Water, but not too much. Sunlight. Proper nutrients. And even then, you might not even grow anything. Deeply-rooted faith can be difficult to plant, grow, and nurture, but the results are well worth all the hard work. Jesus explained the importance of growing in faith when He told a large crowd of people a parable about a farmer planting seeds.
“As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”
So what seeds are you planting? And where are you choosing to plant them?
I’m a big fan of buying plants, not seeds. We're on the edge of spring time. Its just warm enough to melt the snow, but cold enough to keep it around. Were getting closer and closer to the time of year when the garden stores and flower sections are full of blossoms. You get to see the flowers you are buying. You choose the colors and see how different blossoms will look next to one another before making your selections. Then you bring them home and fill your pots—instant beauty. But when you grow your plants from seeds, you have to wait. Wait for the roots to grow deep and the sprouts to appear. You wait for the leaves and blossoms to pop up after a long winter season. Life is more like planting seeds than buying plants. There’s no shortcuts to a flourishing life. So we sow seeds by His grace, cultivating the areas God calls us to plant. I choose to plant seeds of faith in my relationship with Jesus, seeking God in His Word, safekeeping the community he brings me in my heart, and spending time in prayer. I plant seeds in my day to day life showing up to create, bravely sharing, and serving the people in front of me.
Growth is gradual and mostly unseen. But Zechariah 4:10 reminds me, “Do not despise this small beginning, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin." Have you ever tried so hard to plant something and keep it alive? You research all the plant advice you can fill your brain with, you work on your green thumb, follow all the plant moms of Instagram, and yet your plant still dies. So what went wrong? You think too much water, the wrong size pot, too much sun or maybe not enough, the list could go on and on. But the problem isn't with you or the plant. Its the soil.
The “law of sowing and reaping,” is anchored in Ecclesiastes 11:6: “In the morning sow your seed, and at evening withhold not your hand, for you do not know which will prosper, this or that, or whether both alike will be good”. We should have a similar attitude toward planting gospel seeds. We should sow abundantly because we don’t know which seeds will eventually produce fruit. The farmer works hard, sowing lots of seeds because it is a mystery to him which ones will take root or not. A person may have many reasons to leave the plow in the barn, but the farmer who does not plant a crop should not be surprised by the nonexistent harvest. We should not be surprised by nonexistent spiritual harvests if we are not planting gospel seeds. I certainly don’t pretend to have all the answers on how you should plant gospel seeds, but if you're in some hard soil, believe in the harvest the Lord has brought.
I’ve been in New York for a little over a month and I’ve been reflecting a lot on the different seeds I’ve planted and that have been planted within me. I have been constantly reminded of the amazing community that I have surrounding me (even from 2,726 miles away). To the people that show up, pour into, encourage, and uplift me. My little circle that makes the long distance feel small and as though I haven’t missed a thing. But in the reality of me planting seeds at Lake Champion scares me. There is a timeline set for my time here, an end date for my departure. The selfish side of me thinks “why would I want to plant seeds if I’m not going to see the harvest?” But we aren’t always destined to see the harvest. Maybe our job is to plant the seeds and tend to the soil in the time that we have. So in my time here the seeds that I’m planting are of growth, community, prosperity, for our work crew, summer staff, and summer interns that will be joining us in a few short months. For healing, vulnerability, good conversation, and peace. I might not get to see the flourishing harvest of these seeds in my time here, but what I do know is that it builds Gods garden of goodness.
“Don’t dig up in doubt what you planted in faith.” Elizabeth Elliot
Song(s) of the Blog:
Garden- Jervis Campbell
Glorious- BJ Putnam