Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Grass Buddy

Summer is the time to think about seeds, blossoms, dirt, and the like, not because I am a gardener whatsoever, but because the lessons we learn from nature become alive again in the growing seasons of the year (and also because I am allergic to many garden-related things, which makes the growing seasons much of a growing pain for upper respiratory system : )

The point is that the analogies between nature and Biblical principles are not lost in this gardening-challenged individual. 

A few mornings ago, as it is my custom, I looked out the window to soak in the new day’s delight. Unlike most mornings, however, I saw something different. I saw a comical creature. Sitting on my patio table was Dylan’s “grass buddy” which he made at BVS earlier this summer. It is a plastic cup for the body and a nylon pantyhose filled with dirt and grass seeds for a head. It used to have a face, but it is long gone now. It is a truly hilarious thing right now because the grass seeds germinated and there is a crown of pretty tall grass growing on the top of its head. It actually looks like a Hawaiian grass crown (we’ve thought about making it a grass skirt to go with it…)

The grass buddy is sitting in the same vicinity of two potted tomato plants and one potted string bean plant. There is also a beautiful pot with bright orange marigolds and one more with yellow ones. They are all Dylan’s. As it happens, he has an inclination toward planting, and I try to indulge as much as possible.

The thing is that my deck is looking more and more like a real garden where living things are growing at a nice rate. At the same time, it is becoming a source of life-lesson illustrations.

Today as I contemplate how tall and lush those tomato plants are, marvel at the gorgeous purple bean flowers and laugh at the grass buddy, I remember how they all came from seeds. I think back at the day Dylan and I filled up the pot with dirt and tucked in the beans snug under a thick layer of dark and fertile soil. I remember how we watered that pot for weeks before anything would show. I remember Dylan’s impatient inquiries about how long it would take until we can eat the beans. I remember staring closely at the dirt every day until one day I saw something budding ever so slightly. I remember thinking how much we are like those seeds.

We too yield fruit. They are the fruits of the Spirit who dwells in us. He laboriously tills the unbroken soil of our soul until it is ready for planting. Then, in go the seeds of what He will eventually germinate and nurture until it grows into what He intended to be His fruits in us. But it all starts from a tiny and seemingly insignificant seed.

The crazy thing is that, I cannot make the seeds of the Holy Spirit’s fruits germinate in me any more than I can make those beans my sons and I planted in the ground back in the spring. I just simply can’t!

What I can do, however, is to make sure I give those seeds the best chances to bloom that I can provide. I can be intentional about making sure the soil is fertile. I can be watchful so I pull every weed as soon as I see it, and rid the area of harmful pests. I can make sure I water. And most important of all, I can make sure I place it where they can bask in the light of the sun. 

Regardless of whether or not I am directly in charge of making that seed break open to let a fruit-bearing plant come out of it, I can certainly do my part and provide the most optimal conditions to help it along. The results are up to God. Some of the seeds He plants in me may turn out to be like the fresh produce we are expecting from the plants on our deck, which will provide much nutritious and healthy nurturing to our bodies. Some other fruits may be for the sole purpose of providing amusement and much needed chuckles like Dylan’s grass buddy. But whatever it is, the Lord gives us a task in the growing process of our fruits, and we are responsible for it.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. Philippians 4: 8

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