About a month ago, my daughter and I started growing seeds in the growing room we have in our basement so they would be ready for spring planting. We have been doing this for three years now (since we moved into our farm house) and each gardening season I have ceased to be amazed at how from such little seeds so many wonderful and diverse plants grow and produce the food we eat.
Yesterday as we were watering our seedlings, my daughter was pointing out the different heights and shapes of the plants that were emerging from our peat pots. During our conversation I recalled the following scripture verse I had just read: “So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor.” (1 Corinthians 3:7-8)
The reality of being a gardener is not that I have some magical power to bring forth from a seed all that makes it into the plant it will become. Rather I provide the water, the soil, the heat, and the light and the seed produces the plant under the conditions I provide. The resultant plant from my labors is not of my design but instead the design already placed into the seed by its designer.
I think there is a beautiful lesson contained in this analogy. Likewise we have been given everything we need to make the seed of hope within us grow, flourish, and produce much fruit. Not all of our seeds are the same and neither are the materials we have been given as spiritual gardeners to nourish our seeds. But nevertheless, the gardener is still needed to plant the seed and provide for all of its needs from what she has access to in order to help the growth process.
How is your hope plant doing? A good gauge for a plant’s health can be to look at its leaves and roots – the parts of the plant that take in the nutrients. For each of us our spiritual health can also be judged by our leaves (what we absorb from God working around us in our day to day lives) and our roots (what we absorb when we dig down deep into our relationship with God). I pray you find healthy growth, but if you don’t it is not the end of the plant. If your plant is in need of some help make sure to give it some extra loving care by praying for God to give you the time and energy to grow new leaves and new roots – you will be glad you did!