There have been many compensations for me during this time of lockdown, and one of these has been having time to enjoy my garden. In particular it has been a joy for me to sow seeds and to watch them sprout and grow until they are strong enough to be planted out. Hopefully, in the weeks to come, this will result in a plentiful supply of beans, tomatoes, lettuces and courgettes for me to eat!
It seems amazing that from one small bean, a tall climbing plant will grow, which will produce many pods, each containing many more bean seeds. This is multiplication at work and shows the heart of our wonderful Creator God.
Observing this growth and potential fruitfulness has made me think about God’s desire for our lives. Jesus said in today’s verse that He chose us and appointed us to bear fruit – fruit that will last. But how do we do this?
In thinking about this, I have re-read the parable that Jesus taught in Matthew 13 (as well as Mark 4 and Luke 8). We call it the parable of the sower, but it should perhaps be called the parable of the soil, as it is more about the ground which receives the seed than about the sower. Jesus explained that hard ground like the path enabled the devil to snatch away any seed landing there. The rocky ground enabled only shallow roots to develop, which meant that people were likely to fall away during tough times. The thorns that choked the plants were the worries of life and the deceitfulness of the attractions of the world. But the good soil was those who not only hear the word, but also accept it and do what it says. These are the ones who will bear fruit.
What is the ground of our hearts like? Have we allowed our hearts to become hardened so that we are not ready and willing to receive God’s word and His love? Are our roots in Jesus shallow, making us like ‘fair-weather Christians’, not able to stand firm through times of drought and the storms of life? Have we allowed the ‘thorns’ of fear or anxiety to choke our faith, particularly during the current difficult period? Do the seeming attractions that the world offers distract us and choke the good spiritual growth in our lives?
I have had to care for the soil which is ready for my plants – keeping it clear of weeds, protecting it from hungry rabbits, and feeding it with nourishing compost. If we want to be fruitful in our lives, we need to do similar – getting rid of ‘weeds’ and anything that would distract us or smother the life of God in us; being on our guard against the enemy’s ploys to steal from us; and receiving daily nourishment from God’s word and His Spirit within us. Let’s use this time of lockdown to prepare for fruitfulness and a harvest to come!
Prayer: Lord, please help me to be deeply rooted in You, and not to allow worry or worldliness to distract me from You. Please help me to bear much fruit for You and Your Kingdom. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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