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  • Shirley A Genovese

Growing Faith: 2~How Does Your Garden Grow

Updated: May 18, 2020

Awhile back a friend generously gave me some dried heirloom tomato seeds. The growing season was over. I put them in a dark place and forgot where they were when the time came to plant them in the spring. I found them a year later. I was not sure if they would germinate. I gave some to a friend down the road and planted the remainder in my garden. My friend’s seeds sprouted and grew tall. My seeds did not even break ground. At the end of the growing season, I dug up my seeds to find out what happened. I could not find them. I have thought a lot about why my friend’s seeds grew and mine did not. I did some research and learned a few things about my approach versus my friend’s method of planting. I learned that there are several key factors in germinating tomato seeds that determine if they will sprout and grow into healthy fruit bearing plants. I was a careless gardener. I did not learn how to tend those tender seeds or plant them in an environment where they could flourish. I have no tomatoes.

Consider This: My experience reminds me of the teaching story Jesus told, recorded in Mark 4.

“Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.”

Jesus explained that the story was about the secret of the spiritual kingdom of God. He was deepening the lesson He had begun, from Luke 13, about the seed “a man took and put in his garden; and it grew and became a large tree, and the birds of the air nested in its branches.”[1] Only this time, He was talking specifically about careful planting conditions to ensure growth. How to tend the seeds.

The one who proclaims or sows the word of God (scriptural truths), as Jesus did, is the farmer. The seeds are the people who hear it.

Some people are careless with the Word in various ways. Instead of treating it with great care, they do not consider it for very long. It has no impact on their lives. Others receive the Word with great joy but do not nurture it so roots can grow. The Word is superficially in their lives and when hard times come, they walk away. Still others tend the Word enough to start growing faith but later allow other belief systems to choke out the Word so faith cannot grow strong.

Then there are those who understand the eternal value of the Word and are careful with the tender seeds of faith, welcoming them with joy, taking every opportunity to learn more. These are the people who learn to trust Jesus Christ through all the ups and downs of life. The result is an increasingly rich harvest of healthy spiritual fruit; a strong faith. These are the people others gravitate toward as they start to plant and tend their own seeds of faith.

Because of this parable of Jesus, I know that God cares how we tend our seeds of faith. It is always growing season with God. It is a good time to consider what may be choking the growth of faith in my own life. Have I become careless in even small ways? I want to foster an active faith that grows large. It is my desire to trust Him with everything. How does your garden grow?

[1] Refer to prior post “The Littleness of Faith”

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