By Greg Quinn
June 8th, 2003
I like gardening. So does my brother Jeff. While Jeff is big on growing peppers for his wonderful hot sauces, I am more into things that bloom. I find great relaxation in taking a seed, planting it into good soil, nurturing and watering it, and then watching as it sprouts and grows and flowers. When you sit back months later, and see the harvest (whether produce or flowers), itís hard to remember the hard work that went into the process. Instead, you enjoy the bounty of the harvest.
As Christians, weíre called to be gardeners. Jesus told us to take the Gospel (good news of Jesusí death, burial and resurrection as salvation from our sins and reconciliation back to a holy God) and spread it all over the world. Kind of like a gardener takes a handful of small seeds and plants them into the ground, we are to take the seeds of the Good News and plant them. So, I guess weíre Godís Gardeners!
As a practical example, letís look at the sunflower. You prepare the soil, making sure the conditions are correct to allow proper seed germination. Then, you take a seed; one small seed. You push this seed into the soil, and gently cover with earth. You water the seed. You pull the weeds out of the soil around the seed. You water some more. And wait. And wait. And water. And weed. And wait. Before long, the green of a sunflower plant begins to poke its way through the warm soil. Before long, the sunflower is standing tall. And then, its beautiful flower blooms. And, right before you think itís all over and about to fade, you notice all the multitude of additional seeds, the making of many hundreds of additional sunflowers. The gardener can take these additional seeds, from this one sunflower, and plant hundreds more sunflowers, which in turn produce seeds, and so on.
We can learn a lot from the sunflower. One of Godís Gardeners takes a lone seed of the gospel, and plants it in us. If our ground is right (we realize that there is more to life than just us, the values of the world have let us down, we see a need in our lives that booze or sex or drugs or possessions cannot fill, etc.) then this lone seed begins to germinate. We listened as the gardener told of how Jesus died for our sins, how He is the Son of God, and how all we must do to inherit eternal life is to ask forgiveness of our sins and accept the atoning sacrifice that Jesus made for us. The seed begins to take root. We get ďwateredĒ from the Word of God, the Bible. We begin to listen to the teachings within the Bible, we go to church, we get a copy of the Bible and read it, we listen to preachers expound upon it, we get with others like us on a path of mutual discovery, and we get watered. Watered. And watered. The devil fights us, and the old temptations come back. Our old friends make fun of us. We fight our sinful nature. These are the ďweedsĒ coming back in our fresh ground, and the gardener must pull these weeds and water us some more. Weed and water. Weed and water. But suddenly, we begin to poke our heads above the ground, and begin to grow taller. The gardener continues to weed and water. And, before long, we grow into a mature, healthy sunflower. And, the fruit of our flower, in the midst of our glory, is many additional seeds. Now that we have been through the process, we can drop these seeds and help other new sunflowers grow and mature. The sunflower becomes the gardener.
As Godís Gardeners, letís not forget the importance of one small seed. Letís plant the Good News of Jesus Christ whenever possible. Letís remember the value of every person in Godís eyes; Christ died for all of us. Letís not tire in the weeding and watering that is required to have a healthy harvest. And, if we do the work, what a harvest we can enjoy!
If we, like the aged sunflower, can but look within us and see the many hundreds of seeds we have ready to plant, and assume the role of Gardener willingly, our flowers will be glorious and the harvest will be plentiful.
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