Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Stubborn Seed

 A crazy thing happened to my daughter in Science class this year.  She was given the assignment to grow something.  You probably remember doing this yourself at one time or other.  You plant a bean or, in her case, a piece of potato in a cup with some dirt.  Then you place it in the windowsill where you water it once a day and hope for a sprout to appear.  Not too complicated.  It’s not supposed to be.  Teachers know that this is pretty much a no-fail experiment if the student follows the directions.  Well, it didn’t go so well for Rebecca.  She followed her directions carefully and never saw a hint of a sprout.  She tried again with a different seed, to no avail.  After the third try, Rebecca threw her hands up in the air and declared defeat.  The teacher didn’t penalize her because he had seen her efforts and believed it was a terrible stroke of bad luck.  He’s still puzzled by what went wrong.  Ironically, my daughter just started a job that requires her to try her hand at gardening once again.  This caused us to revisit the Science fiasco.  After getting a good laugh, I began to reflect on those stubborn little seedlings.

Many of us have people in our lives who need to hear about Christ.  Maybe they have never heard of Him, never set foot in a church, or never read a single page of Scripture.  Maybe they have heard of God but have a warped view of Him or have chosen to ignore Him.  According to Matthew 28:19-20, our job as Christians is to go and tell them the truth about Jesus.  If you’ve attempted this more than once, then you know that the results of your efforts will vary.  Try as we might, some people will just refuse to sprout.
To put in Christ’s words, the seed falls “by the way side” (Matthew 13).   When Christ’s words were not received well, He moved on.  This is hard to do when you care deeply for the person in question, especially if he/she is a family member or your child.  Ultimately Scripture tells us that the Holy Spirit does the convicting.  That is not our job.  So we plant a seed, water it, and stick it in the windowsill praying that one day a sprout may appear.  What we shouldn’t do is let it tear us up if we never see it happen.  Paul said that some will be planters, some will water, but only God can give the increase.

Another idea that strikes me when I think of Rebecca’s little experiment is that I can also resemble that stubborn seed at times.  God speaks truth to me and I reject it.  I simply refuse to grow.  Growth is hard and sometimes painful.  I don’t like it when God points out to me my failures and character flaws.  I don’t like being told that I’m lazy, selfish, unfaithful, jealous, undisciplined, and the list goes on.  But God’s purpose in pointing out my failures is not to make me feel bad.  His purpose is to make me more like His Son.  With that goal in mind, I think I can tolerate a little pain or difficulty.  Bring on the rain Lord, I want to grow!


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