“Blessing and cursing come out of the same mouth. My brothers and sisters, these things should not be this way.” (CSB – Read the chapter)
We planted a garden this year. We try to do one every year. We don’t put a whole lot in our garden, but we do have some staples. Squash and zucchini are two of those staples. This year, we planted three squash plants and two zucchini plants. But, once the vegetables started coming to bear, four plants were yielding squash. Do you know what we said? It’s a miracle!
God designed you to grow. And, when you’re growing like you should, you’ll be producing seeds that can be planted in other people that will affect the way they see and interact with and think about the world around them. The question is: Are these Gospel seeds, or are they seeds for something less savory. As a community, God designed us to be a place where people grow in Christ. Read on to see what this means for us, what it can mean for you, and what we should to about it.
I don’t have any corn growing in my front yard. You can drive by my house any day of the week, any time of the day, and you won’t ever see any there. It’s the weirdest thing. It just isn’t there. I like corn. I love eating it. I love it when we buy a whole bunch at the store, strip it off the cob, freeze it, and pull it out months later to enjoy. Lisa is a wizard with those goodie freezer bags. But there just isn’t any in my front yard. There aren’t any green beans either. That’s really too bad too, because it’s the one vegetable we’ve managed to be able to get all three boys to eat without much in the way of complaint. I can’t tell you how convenient it would be to simply go out the front door and pick what we need rather than having to go to the store all the time for them. Alas, though, the yard is bereft of beans. And greens. Now, I’m not much of one for greens myself, but Lisa likes cabbage. You won’t find the first leaf of it in my front yard.
This past Sunday as we continued our conversation about who God made us to be as a church, the next key element of our identity is growth. Keep reading to see how growing people has always been a part of God’s approach to humanity and how it is, could be, and should be fleshed out in our community. Thanks for reading.
Growth is natural. As it was nearing the first summer Lisa and I spent in Virginia, we decided we wanted to plant a garden. Neither of us really had any idea what we were doing. We got some help and advice from folks in the church who were themselves avid gardeners, but much beyond help with the plowing of a 30 by 60 plot in our backyard, we pretty much did all the work ourselves. We planted way too much. We wound up spending almost every evening and Saturday morning pulling weeds and picking produce (and trying desperately to give away the hundreds of squash and zucchini and cucumbers we had). We canned more green beans than would fit in our meager pantry. But, by the time it was all said and done, we had successfully grown a pretty nice garden. Here’s the funny part, though, and if you’re a gardener you know this to be true: The work we did had almost no impact on the actual growth of the garden. Sure, by pruning and pulling weeds and spraying for bugs and watering when it got dry we might have extended the life of the plants and increased the size of the harvest, but there was not a single thing we did to cause the garden to grow save putting the seeds in the ground. Once they were in the ground and covered with dirt, the rest happened all on its own. Again: growth is natural. Read the rest…