I have a brown thumb. I’ve tried- really I have- to plant & water things. They usually die. I’m not happy or proud of it, but nonetheless, I must admit at this point I’ve yet to prove myself a successful gardener.
Maybe its time- I’ll be the first to admit that should I plant something I probably wouldn’t give it the time it requires.
Maybe its energy- the whole “Eh, I’m sure it’ll still be there tomorrow, I’ll weed & take care of it then,” which is oh so easy to do.
Maybe its enthusiasm- once the initial excitement of planting a seed & the potential that awaits wears off and the real grind of daily tending starts, its easy to become less and less excited and it become more and more of a chore…that you just…don’t…want…to…do…
Maybe its not really wanting the end result. This may have more validity to it than the others. I’ve never tried tending a plant that would result in something I truly want- this means food! There’s a good chance I would be far more attentive to a plant under my care if I knew it would produce something I could eat afterwords…corn, potatoes, apples, cheesecake…oh if only, right?
Maybe I don’t think the reward will be worth it, especially if it’s something I don’t directly benefit from (like cheeseca…er…apples). After all, if its just a flower, yes it’ll look nice but that’s all. It’d be nice to have but maybe I secretly think its not worth the effort.
Maybe I’ve never been invested enough. What I mean is I’ve usually only spent a few dollars buying cheap flowers or plants and tried to plant them in areas that didn’t require too much work. I’ll admit I might have been after the whole “Most reward with least effort” thing.
Maybe I’ve been planting inferior seeds that while I feel like I’ve tried to do something never were quality enough to really grow where I’ve tried to plant them.
Maybe I’ve been planting in harsh soil without having been willing to cultivate the ground, till it, & make it a good place for a seed to be able to take root & grow.
Hence, I’m not a good gardener. I never said I didn’t know why. I’ve found that usually people can tell you why they’re not good at something. I love my oldest son’s responses when I ask him why he didn’t do something I asked- already at 2 1/2 years old he’ll say brutally honestly “I didn’t want to.” You have to respect that to a degree, even if it means he must be taught that not wanting to isn’t an option when Mommy & Daddy ask something of you unless we give you the choice.
Therein lies the rub for my gardening. In the end, whether I am able to plant, water, & help grow a flower into a beautiful, blooming plant or not (usually not) I chose to try, and while I may be disappointed there’s really not a consequence besides a little lost money, time & some ground which now lies bare. And I resolve to do better next time.
The thing is the field in which I’m commanded to work, and am actually being worked on myself, isn’t about flowers, or veggies, or fruit. It’s about life. It’s about eternity. It’s about so much more than time, effort, enthusiasm, or even choice. Its about to whom you belong, & why.
Matthew 10:42 is such the perfect verse- And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.
What good could come from a cup of cold water if that’s the best we can give? The world thinks little, through Jesus, possibly true life!
We, by not being conformed to this world but being transformed by the renewing of our minds in Christ plant & water the seeds of eternal life, the seeds of faith in Christ, the seeds of being taken out of the holds of Satan & into the marvelous light of God. We, by praying & acting on faith, are God’s workers, tasked with this responsibility by our very creator.
- I don’t have time to help save people from a Godless eternity…
- I don’t have the energy- they’ll be there tomorrow…
- I’m not excited about bringing someone to Jesus- they’re taking a long time to convert!
- I don’t want them to be saved, I’d much rather have something other than another Christian…
- Whatever God’s reward is for doing this work its probably not worth it…
- If it takes more than 5 minutes or a few bucks, too much investment to save a soul…
- The seeds I’m planting from my hour a week with God are good enough…
- Why can’t I convert the outspoken atheist who won’t listen to me…I wish he’d be more like that kind single mother down the street who doesn’t look like she has much…
Can we afford not to be gardening in the lives of people around us? Can they afford us not to be gardening? A single act, a single moment, a single word, and single gesture, may be enough to plant a seed that God can grow to one day bring them back to Him. What can we do to help improve our gardening for God?
Praying God’s help in something does a few things. It makes us active participants in the process, as well as helps us be more aware of what’s going on around us- it puts us on high alert for spiritual things. Praying for specific people we come into contact with definitely helps us be on alert for what we can do in their lives, as well as intentionally teams yourself up with God to soften their heart for His Word.
Being in the Bible daily and looking for His truths ourselves helps to grow our own planted faith, & helps water & nurture our relationship with God. We cannot try to plant seeds of faith if we have little or none of our own. The better nurtured our own trees of faith are, the higher quality a seed we can try to plant in others. I think also the healthier we are the more of a reward we get as well, not necessarily from God, but the awareness that we’ve done what we’re supposed to. For me, that energizes me for the next time.
Here’s the toughie. We must not only act, but we must act in a way that directly lays the credit at Jesus’ feet. Not only must we give the cup of water, but part of acting is to somehow let it be known that you do it because of Jesus’ love for them. While good deeds are, well, good, remember Colossians 3:17-And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. We can be honest- this may be awkward at first, but like many things we practice it gets easier with time. Maybe its buying a cup of coffee for the person behind you and just saying “Jesus loves you.” Maybe its going above & beyond for someone & when asked why you did it saying that’s what Jesus tells us to do for each other. Maybe its just being there in a tough time & praying.
There are many ways to plant seeds, but many more ways to avoid it. I challenge you & myself to take up gardening today- let’s work, and not worry about the color of our thumb, but help open the door for God to do His work with us.
Grace to you.