Planting in faith for a better tomorrow.

(A quick read: 995 words.)

Recently I listened to a very encouraging and impacting message by Pastor Rick Warren: ‘What Seeds Will you Plant this Spring’. Using the example of a seed that is planted and harvested some time later, Pastor Rick described how a person reaps in life what they sow into it. For example, if you plant seeds of love you will harvest the fruits of love, if you sow resentment, you will harvest resentment. Yes, I’ve heard this statement many times before but Pastor Rick’s message helped me to understand the concept in relation to my faith and my Christian life.

It is now apparent to me that my relationship with God and my knowledge of him is, and will be, the direct result of what seeds I once planted and of what seeds I choose to plant: I am as close to God as I choose to be today but also because of the choices I once made.

Thinking this over, I find myself asking a few questions: what would my christian faith be today if I planted seeds of faith ten years ago and what will it be like tomorrow if I start planting good seeds today? I’m not lamenting my past, but it is in the looking back that causes me to carefully consider today what I want my life to look like in the future.

I’m content with where I am today, I can see that God has produced a good harvest for me even though I planted pitifully but I want to make sure that my faith significantly matures from here out. Pastor Rick’s explanation of seed and harvest has helped me to think of this in a practical manner: what I want is what I plant.

I want to know and understand the Bible, therefore I should develop and commit to a daily Bible reading plan. I want a ministry and relationship with my family, friends and church that is loving, kind, trusting, committed, supportive, forgiving and generous, therefore I should actively begin living my life like that. But how? How do you plant a seed of love?

I’m aware it’s a strange concept that doesn’t seem tangible at first and I suppose the answer will differ for everyone. Essentially it is up to each of us, but here’s a quick illustration that might make the concept easier to grasp:
A father who has not seen his daughter for some time decides that he wants to have a good relationship with her but given life’s circumstances the idea seems hopeless. He has two choices, either to wait and hope that one day she comes looking for him or he could move towards her with small gestures like sending a text message or a handwritten card, turning up at her soccer match, taking her out for a milkshake, or even driving her to school. With God’s help and his own care and attention their relationship will grow and change. Small seeds grow into huge trees.

The illustration makes me think of my own relationship with my children. If I desire to be a mother my children feel they can talk to tomorrow, and I do, then I better start listening and talking with them today.

And at church, if I want to have christian fellowship with that person who avoids conversation with everyone, then I need to show them love and respect each time I see them. A lifelong friendship can develop from a polite smile.

When considering faith, if a person wants a faith that is solid in it’s foundation, it’s a very good idea to start learning about God today. If Christians desire a life that bears the fruit of the Holy Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control Galatians 5:22,23) then we need to be practicing that today.

There are so many seeds I need to plant; I lack so much of the ‘Christian character’. I’m not sure if people would recognize the fruits of the Spirit in my life at all. For example: generosity. I am not a regular giver of my time, money, patience, hospitality, love, or trust. (I know, so much to work on!) Therefore, after considering ‘plant and harvest’, I’m going to choose to plant a seed in the name of generosity. My hope, and aim, is that one day someone describes me as generous…now just to begin. What can I do today that is generous? What can you do?

I know that in life we want everything now. We want to have success today. We want to love and be loved right now. We want a partner, or kids, or a community, or all of that today. The problem is that life just doesn’t work that way. It takes time for a seed to grow, for a person to change and mature. The important thing is to sow in faith and be patient in God’s timing. Some seeds are harvested in a few short weeks, others take years to grow and mature. Thankfully we have a God who asks us not to worry about tomorrow, who urges us to trust him in all things and who says that “Those who plant in tears will harvest in shouts of joy” (Psalm 126:5).

Can you visualize what kind of relationship with God you want? Can you dare to dream that a terrible relationship with a family member could be made whole one day? If so, what kind of seeds do you think you can plant in hope today?

I am so taken by this idea, I’ve decided to buy a Planter Box and grow some vegetables from seeds as a daily reminder to sow in faith. I am not good in the garden and I expect there to be frustration, failure and unforeseen biological disaster but one day, with God’s goodness, I’ll be serving my home grown carrots to a room full of friends. What he gives, he gives so we can bless others.

Coronavirus inspired me to read The Bible (and to make this blog).

In March 2020 the novel virus, Coronavirus Sers Covid-19, changed the world. Countries around the world closed their borders, stopped working, and sent their people into isolation to deter the spread of the potentially deadly virus. As the virus took hold, thousands of people lost their lives and hundreds and thousands more were sick. Economies were at a standstill. 

On March 16 my husband, John, returned to Australia from a five day trip to Los Angeles.  That day, any arriving passenger from overseas was ordered to remain at home in quarantine for two weeks. Arriving home, John coughed a little and felt rundown. Four days later I had a headache. John was declared Covid-19 positive on the 23rd of March. My results came back positive on the 28th. Rough days. 

I began writing this blog, my Counter Covid-19 attempt to Be the Light to a worried and isolated at the beginning of March when the news of virus was spreading faster than the virus itself (at least in Australia). I managed to write four posts before I no longer felt well enough to read or write.  It was a long sickness and it has been a long recovery process. I had a slight cough that I could not shake. Finally on the 4th April both the Public Health department and NSW Health declared me officially recovered. I’m a Covid survivor. I had no previous illness or concerns and this virus knocked me flat. It was the sickest I have ever been in my life. I did not go to hospital. I suppose I am one of the lucky ones. John was sick too but in some ways I was worse. Now however, I seem to be more recovered than he, meaning I can run a little without having to catch my breath. He will need to work up to this. 

No doubt, these are extraordinary days. We are all living through an unprecedented moment in modern history. Our daily lives are greatly affected as we all wait in isolation distanced from our family and friends. ‘Social distancing’, effective from spreading the virus, does seed suspicion of every person encountered in a grocery store or on the footpath. This suspicion, ‘Does that person have the virus’ , breeds mistrust in our families, friendship and communities yet as a population we are being asked to place unquestioned faith and trust in our leaders, police and governments.  Freely and readily freedoms were given up as people stopped working and going about their daily lives in the hope that someone one day will come up with a vaccine so that life can ‘go back to normal’. As a people we trust that those freedoms will be returned to us. All around the world people wait for a better tomorrow.

Believing in God’s word, God’s story, as the beginning and end of everything, I wonder what is He wanting us to learn at this time? What lessons, what grace, what blessing, what change, what warning is there for us in this moment? What, if we wanted to listen, would he be whispering to us in this new found quietness we find ourselves in? For surely, in between our zoom sessions and Netflix binges, it is quiet. ‘Be still’, He once said. ‘Be still and know that I am God’. (Psalm 46:10)

So that’s what I am going to attempt to do. I am going to read my Bible and see that if, in these times, God does speak to me (and you) through it. I confess, I’ve read a lot of the Bible already and most of it hasn’t made much sense or given impetus for further thought but that was then, this is now. I am much more interested. Things change. Life obviously changes. But what I am pretty sure doesn’t change is the Bible, or the character of God. He remains the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow and He promises that while the ‘earth remains there will be planting and harvest, cold and night, summer and winter, day and night’. (Genesis 8:22)

This time will end. There will be an end to our isolation. There will be a day to get back to work. This coronavirus disaster will one day be a time to remember. What then, will you remember it for? There are opportunities here for this to be a time of generosity, love, compassion and learning. There are opportunities here to sow seeds that produce marvelous fruits of the spirit. There are opportunities here to look for God and for Him to be found by you. There are opportunities here for you to trust and grow in faith. God promises good things to those who love and follow him. There are opportunities here to change your life and the lives of those you love for the better. What will you do? Who will you become? Will this be a time of growth or a time of lament. The choice is yours. As always, the choice is yours. As for me and my family, we choose to serve the Lord. (Joshua 24:15)

Please know that I am not a theologian, rather just someone thinking through the Bible and please afford some grace to my writing. I confess I struggle to share my thoughts in writing, I err and um and ah over every written word. I have very little confidence in my ability to clearly express myself however, as these are extraordinary times, I will attempt to explain my Bible studies in the hope that someone, just one person even, will be encouraged by it.