Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Gardening tips from a non-gardener

I've never really been one for gardening. My parents always had a garden when I was growing up. Several in fact. We had squash, zucchini, strawberries, blackberries, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc. It was really nice to be able to go out into the backyard and grab a few fresh veggies to cook for dinner. But, I'm sorry, I'm a child of the 80's. I'm sure I still have a little bit of Nintendo and Thundercats coursing through my veins. So, I never really payed that much attention when I was working in the garden. I just followed directions (sometimes better than others) while my mind was somewhere else.

Well, as I have been walking down this path of organic faith and church, I have come to the conclusion that the best education for understanding the spiritual nature of God's creation is to look at the physical nature of what He left us. If you look at the way Jesus taught about faith and the kingdom, you will see he used a lot of analogies, most of them were organic in nature. I would like to use an organic illustration of my own.

All the plants on earth have, just about, the same life cycle and growth pattern:

A seed is planted...

It begins to take root...

A sapling or shoot emerges...

The plant begins to mature...

The plant spreads seeds of it's own.

Like clockwork. Without fail. Every time. It doesn't matter if we are talking about the mighty redwoods of the west coast or the seemingly insignificant dandelion in your backyard, the process is still the same. Every time.

I think there is a HUGE lesson for us to learn here as it applies to spiritual growth and maturity. First off, the process for growing in faith is exactly the same. I don't know why we try to complicate a simple process that God has put into place. When the seed of salvation in Christ is planted and allowed to take root, (cause let's be honest, some people pull that seed right back out of the ground and then wonder why it didn't grow) the flower of faith will begin to grow. Not long after that, again if allowed to grow, the maturity of that believer will be evident. Yet, that person is still not fully grown. This is where we miss a lot of the picture. Just as in the life cycle of the plant, a follower of Christ is not fully matured until that person can plant seeds of their own in other people's lives.

Let's be real here, any plant that does not reproduce, in one generation will die out completely. That's all it takes. One generation who is less concerned with multiplying and more concerned with "mega-fying". We must, as the Body of Christ, the expression of His church, and the embodiment of His love for this world, be willing to set aside our own person gain or growth to do what we were created to do.

"Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds." - Jesus (John 12:24)

- Just a thought.

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