“and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ.” -Philemon 1:6
Since we’ve been through spring and summer now, many of you have probably done some gardening around your home. Maybe simple flowers or small vegetable gardens. Maybe some of you plant big vegetable gardens or lots of flowers. I’ve always enjoyed the flower beds in front of the homes I’ve lived in and on occasion have had a good size vegetable garden. I’ve done flowers from seeds and flowers already in bloom, each time giving different results. But one thing remains the same for anyone who’s had a garden. One must plant seeds wisely.
For instance, when getting the various seeds for vegetables we look on the back of packages not only for directions but for the ideal planting times for the region we live in. For Michigan it’s May to June. We plant when the sun is going to be most optimal for growing.
Next, when planting, we have to decide how we want our garden to grow, horizontal lines or vertical lines. Then what row for what plant. Planting wisely doesn’t mean we just toss the seeds in the air and where they land is where it’s best. We’d have a mess for sure. Green beans and zucchini all tangled together. Peas and green peppers fighting for their own vines, and mounds of potatoes all mixed up in-between. No, we need to plant a row of green beans, a row of peas, maybe a row of squash and zucchini together. Each vegetable needs its own space and kind to be planted with and when we plant wisely the results are tremendous and we end up with the most ideal vegetables. But in order to have that we still have to do our part. We have to water the plants, nourishing them as they grow, and we have to keep the weeds away so they don’t strangle the new roots. Having a garden is work, but the end results are worth it. To see vegetables appear and flourish can make any gardener smile.
When I think about seeds and the Bible I’m always drawn to the Parable of the Seeds (Matthew 13). The parable tells of a sower who planted a garden. As he planted, some seeds fell on the road where birds ate them, some fell on the rocky ground where they grew briefly but didn’t have good enough soil to continue and died. The rest of the seeds fell in good ground and flourished and produced a good crop.
Jesus explained that we too are like the seeds. When we hear God’s message but don’t understand it, Satan can easily come and steal our hearts, like the birds. Other people hear God’s word and accept it happily but without people there to nourish them they soon get discouraged, and trials cause them to give up, seeds of rocky ground. And like the seeds planted in good ground, people who accept God’s message, understand it, and are nourished by other Christians, they in turn produce good fruit and soon thrive in Christ and begin helping spread the message too.
Just like in a garden we can’t just throw God’s message out in the world and hope for the best. We too actually need to get to know people, meet them where they are and show God’s love to them through our actions (plant wisely). We don’t stop there either, once they have found Jesus we need to continue to help with encouragement, prayer, and at times guidance. God has said where two or three are gathered in my name there I am also (Matthew 18:20).
Today let’s not only be wise seed planters in our gardens, but also wise, when sharing God’s message.
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