God of Planting
"My eyes will watch over them for their good, and I will bring them back to this land. I will build them up and not tear them down; I will plant them and not uproot them. I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD." (Jeremiah 24:6,7a NIV)
I am not a gardener. I've managed to grow two human children, but that's about it. My mom, on the other hand, can grow practically anything (including children). Every lovely green thing we have in our yard, save what came with the place, is a labor of love from the hand of my mom. (Thanks, Mama.)
In the community of faith, we often talk about "planting seeds." We aren't sure what might be reaped at harvest time, but we trust God has used our hands to plant something good.
God sets forth seasons of planting, which means we have a job to do in those seasons. But what exactly is involved in planting? Maybe this process is a place to start.
1. Look for some land. Your home, your workplace, someplace you volunteer...wherever you are today, be on the lookout for land that's ripe for the planting.
2. Prepare the land. I don't know much about preparation for literal planting (see "not a gardener," above), but I do know the soil has to be worked up (aerated?) and that it needs to have the right balance of clay and sand and the nutrients necessary to the incubation of life. In spiritual terms, prayer is the most crucial preparation we can make for planting. Pray for someone in whose mind and heart you know you'd like to sow a seed. Pray for that person unknown to you but known to God who might come across your path.
Relationship-building ahead of planting is another form of preparation. If you're going to dig a hole in someone's mind or heart (to put the seed into and with the best of intentions, of course), it will help a lot if they know you love and care about them first.
Beyond these steps, the bulk of the preparation is done by God. We have no idea how God has gone ahead of us and prepared someone to receive what He has for them. Our job isn't to make the soil; our job is to plant a seed in it.
3. Get the seeds. Scripture you have memorized or stored in your phone or written on note cards you stash in your car, for instance. Songs that sing God's praise and truth. Your own story. A word of encouragement. Have these at the ready when the time to plant rolls around.
4. Plant the seeds. Speak the Scripture. Share the song. Tell your story. Send a message of concern and encouragement.
5. Feed the seeds. Check in from time to time. Pray, and pray some more. Ask the Living Water to fall on the seeds. Ask the Sun to shine on them and cause them to grow.
6. Trust the God of Planting. As with literal seeds buried deep in the ground or in little compartments in a tray of soil, we often can't see the growth that's going on with the seeds we plant. Here is where we have to trust the goodness of the Master Gardener. Sight unseen, we have to hold onto hope that the seed will grow "as God causes it to grow" (Colossians 2:19). Or, in the wise words of Elisabeth Elliot, "Don't dig up in doubt what you planted in faith."
Elizabeth is right...she does not like gardening, but oh, how she has planted seeds of God's names and trusts God to bring in the harvest through her words.ReplyDelete