The Budding of Life
Ms. Cora from down the street gave it to me two years ago.
My eighty-six year old gardening neighbor, the one that said, “I hear the gunshots, but even though I live here alone, I’m not scared. I know the Lord is with me. ” She has not been jaded over the past 30 years by watching her neighbors move away, the community fall into disarray, and thieving, drug traffic and gang activity take over. She is the epitome of long-suffering. Well, my guess is she learned a truth or two as she worked in that yard, and communed with the Lord, and planted, and waited.
It was her gift of a bulb that taught me some time-tried lessons as well.
Our yard had been in shambles at the time, with little money leftover after house renovations. I was scrounging for reproducible plants to somehow spruce up our yard. She came on over, gave me some advice, and gave me the bulb.
I planted it in the pot, and waited. Waited two years for that bulb to show me anything beautiful. I actually sorta forgot about it, but this year. This year it wouldn’t let me forget, for it produced a brilliant display of color and wonder. And not just one fiery flower, but four.
I pondered that plant and the fact that the bulb had just faithfully been planted, and had sat there, hidden away, growing, multiplying, and reproducing in the dark, where my eye could not always observe the progress. That seed was doing exactly what God created it to do. multiply and produce beauty.
And church planting, and parenting, and discipling all can seem like those seasons when I saw nothing come from that planted bulb. You labor, you pray, you lead individuals into God’s word, and it seems like nothing is coming from it. People you pour yourself into, move away, families you open your home to can’t seem to reconcile, children still don’t listen, siblings still bicker, leaders you raise up turn and walk away from responsibility. Was it a waste? Was it worth it? Was the seed a dud?
When circumstances say “yeah, stop wasting your time”, the promises of God say otherwise…
“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without water in the earth and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth;
It will not return empty,
but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up….Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
And if the time-tested promises of God are not enough to remind, God has embedded those truths right into nature itself.
Lord of the Harvest,
I humble myself before you, and put aside my own agenda, timeline and desire for instant results. May my heart be set on the vision of what is to come, but may my hands and my feet and my mouth be faithful right here, right now, on the ground, in the soil to faithfully plant the seed of Your Word, in my own life, my family’s life, and in the lives of those you bring into my path. May I plant seeds of unconditional love and grace and kindness, with confidence that Your desire will be accomplished and Your purposes will prevail. Today I will not grow weary in doing good, because I know that at the proper time… Your time, I will reap a harvest if I do not give up.
In the faithful and good name of Jesus, Amen.