The Spring time of year is so refreshing. The trees and grass take on a vibrant shade of green. The spring flowers (which are absolutely my favorites) begin to sprout from the ground giving color to the world. The temperatures warm and our neighborhoods come alive with kids playing in driveways and dog walkers passing by on the regular. It just feels good to see it. Things feel new.
As I see those spring flowers come to life, I am often reminded of Dixie Cup science projects that I used to do as a little girl. Whether it be from Grade School, Girl Scouts or even from Sunday School it seemed like I was forever bringing home small cups of seeds to place in the window sill and watch them grow. It was always exciting to see what would come of that cup of dirt when given some water and sunshine.
I also remember “mystery seeds” – which is a packet full of seeds that is planted in your garden with no clear indication of what might be produced. Therein lies the mystery. It was always fun to speculate and watch the unknown things come from the ground.
In both of these instances, the reality is, that what grew was what had been planted. Even if I was unaware as a young girl of what that might be
Our Life Group lesson this week came from Matthew 13. In this passage of Scripture, Jesus begins teaching in parables and often we, just like the disciples, fail to understand the meaning of what Jesus wants us to glean from His words. But I love how the words of scripture are alive and active and can take on new meaning every time we read them. As I almost got stuck reading over and over verses 31 and 32, I thought about the idea of something tiny growing over the course of years into something mighty. “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed planted in a field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of garden plants; it grows into a tree.”
Although I realize the passage is about the Kingdom of Heaven and likely much more profound than my take on it, it still caused me to ponder how big things grow from tiny things. And not always good big things. In fact, sometimes some very awful, sinful things. I began to think about the seeds I’ve likely planted in the garden of my own heart without realizing what they might grow into over time. Seeds of doubt, seeds of bitterness, seeds of discontentment, seeds of criticism, seeds of unforgiveness or seeds of pride that eventually become “mighty trees” in my life and I can’t even figure out how they got there or remember when they may have been planted. In Proverbs 22:8 we read, “Those who plant injustice will harvest disaster.” In Hosea 10:13, “You have planted wickedness, you have reaped evil.”
Scripture is clear, we will reap what we sow. It seems much harder to me to find the energy, effort or the resources to chop down a mighty oak tree than to dig up an acorn. It seems that the time to consider how big something could grow is during the planting. With that in mind, once I clean up the mighty oaks that are continuing to grow in my life, may I also be faithful to ask the question regularly, “Search me, God and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts” (Psalm 139:23) to keep those seeds that produce bad fruits from ever reaching the soil that helps them grow that big again.
By the same token, may I be continually reminded of John 15:5, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me, you can do nothing.” The reaping of the good fruit comes when I recognize my dependence on the vine.
As you admire the new growth popping from the ground over the next few weeks, maybe give some thought to the seeds you’ve planted recently. When the harvest comes, will you be pleased with your garden or will you be forced to do heavy labor to cut some things down and out of your life?
“But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23
I pray you and your family have a fantastic Easter week as we celebrate the fact that the “Tomb is Empty!”
Stephani Cook is a life coach, speaker, writer, podcast host and the creator of On Purpose Coaching. Through On Purpose Coaching she helps others to improve relationships and to discover intentional abundant living. She does that through group and/or individual coaching, live event speaking or Enneagram workshops in private and corporate settings.
To connect with Stephani about the possibility of coaching or speaking to your group or organization, visit her website http://www.stephanicook.org