The Great Seed Selection
Good morning from Managua, Nicaragua!
Over the past couple of weeks, I have been writing about the importance of planting the right seeds and preparing the soil in such a way that what you plant, reaches its potential. While both of these ideas are true in plant growth, they were both metaphors for the need to do the same things in our lives. We will reap what we sow in life, good or bad, and it is necessary to take steps to prepare our hearts if we desire to reach our God-given potential. If both of these points are true, there is another critical step in the planting, growing and harvesting process. This step was the topic of our devotional on Monday night and what I will be writing about this morning.
“So, how do we decide what to plant?” I asked on Monday night. After two weeks of the same topic, everyone knew the answer for which I was looking. “We should plant what we want to harvest”, one of the young people said. “Well, how do we decide what we should harvest?” I inquired, digging a little deeper. There were a few different thoughts offered, but not a clear answer. How do you decide? Certainly it is important to the prepare the soil and the concept of planting what you want to harvest is one to live by, but they are not entirely useful if you don’t know what you should plant and, as a result, harvest. In the world of agriculture, the best answer is to consult an expert. There are many factors that go into that decision; therefore it is best to ask someone who understands how planting, growing and harvest are supposed to work. An expert can take all of the factors such as the environment, soil type, the growers experience and what the grower hopes to accomplish by growing the plant into account and make a great recommendation. In the world of agriculture and gardening, the source of the expert advice might be the actual person or it might be something written by an expert such as a book or the pack of a seed packet. However it is accomplished, a consultation with an expert will allow you to pick the best seed to plant. This is true in our lives as well. There are methods we can use to consult the Expert and determine the right things to sow and harvest in our lives. I want to take a quick look at three of them today.
In the Bible, the Apostle John recorded the following words of Jesus- “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be given you” (John 15:7, NIV 1984). The first method of deciding what to plant in our lives is the act of remaining or abiding in Jesus. In other words, if you want to know what to plant in your life, you need to develop a relationship with the expert, Jesus. As I have said in previous posts, this first requires that you are actually in a relationship with him to begin with. If we are in a relationship with him, we can take steps to grow that relationship. There are many ways to do this such as prayer, the study of Jesus’ words and life in the Bible, the service of the people Jesus called his followers to serve, and the act of asking him to reveal more about himself to you through the Holy Spirit. I believe all of these activities, and many more, put us in a better position to hear and understand God’s guidance as to His plan for our lives. Who better to ask what we should be developing in our lives than the one who created life in the first place?
The second method that comes to mind is examining the way God made us. In Psalms 139 the Psalmist writes, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Psalm 139:13-14, NIV 1984). How cool to think the way God made us what not an accident! God “knit you together” the way He did uniquely and for a purpose. With that in mind, I believe it is important to look at the interests, talents and dreams God has put on your heart. Many times we think following God’s will for our lives looks the same, no matter who you are. I would ask you to consider then why God made us all different and why we continue to be unique, even after beginning to follow Jesus. I believe this is because we are each perfectly formed for the tasks God has prepared for us. We need to examine how God made us and ask Him to reveal the steps we should take to live into the person we were created to be.
Thirdly, I believe God has revealed, through His Word, character traits and values that are fundamental to living life the way it was intended to be. In Paul’s second letter to Timothy that is recorded in the Bible, he writes, “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17, NIV 1984). I believe God has revealed many things to us through the Bible, one of which is the way he created life to work. Through writings such as Proverbs, we can learn universal attributes that can be built into our life over time to help us live the way God created us to. Principles such as working hard, loving others, making wise decisions, being a continual learner and many more can be found in God’s Word. You certainly don’t have to take this advice, but I have found that learning how something was intended to work tends to lead to the best results.
These three “seed selection” methods are just a few that I have learned over the course of my life and certainly aren’t an exhaustive list of how to go about it. With that said, I do believe it is very important to have a plan of some kind for how you are going to decide what you are plant, grow and harvest in your life. If these are helpful, then feel free to use them. If not, I would encourage you to seek out a method that works best for you. You are going to be “planting seeds” and “harvesting fruit” in your life, whether you intentionally decide to or not. What you reap will be what you sow. What are you sowing today?
– James Belt