Monday, May 21, 2012

Planting Seeds

It's planting season here in our neck of the woods.  Well, actually, it's been a process over the last 2 weeks.  Wait, make that 2 months.  Many of our plants we started from seed back in early March.  Other seeds for larger and more durable plants have been put straight into the ground.

It never ceases to amaze me how big something grows from something so small.  I see it all throughout Creation.  A fertilized egg cell so small it can't be seen with the naked eye, grows into a full sized adult, an acorn grows into a mighty oak tree, a corn kernel grows into an entire 6 foot tall corn stalk.  Each of these things mature to produce a replication of itself by bearing fruit of it's own kind, repeating the process.

As I've gone through the process of planting (sowing), tending, and harvesting, I see many imprints of God in it.  We are told in Ecclesiastes that there is a time for everything under the sun.  I time to plant and a time to uproot.  This doesn't always mean an actual physical seed.

Many times in Christian circles we hear about the importance of planting seeds.  Speaking a small truth to someone or doing an act of kindness or simply showing love or grace to another in hopes that it will grow producing another offspring for Christ.  We're told that the world is our mission field!  That it (the world) is hungry for what we have to offer...our seeds (or water, or sunshine, or whatever our specific niche).  That it is part of our life giving fruit that we are to share with others.  As well as how a small seed planted can produce something quite large.  For instance, faith as small as a mustard seed can move a mountain!

I agree that we are to plant seeds, but the world is not always our mission field.  For many of us, our mission field is our home.  Those who are in the trenches of every day life with us.  More specifically, our children and spouses.  It only takes a tiny seed to produce something very large and fruit bearing.  Whether that is something of usefulness or a weed to be uprooted.  It is often in our homes that we slouch off and "let it all hang out" so to speak.  It is there in our homes that we are charged with raising up the next generation of believers and seed planters so I feel it is all the more important that we be diligent in WHAT seeds we're planting.

Fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately, not every seed planted will grow.  Many will die just beneath the soil, or be swept away in the wind to no man's land.  Others will begin to grow only to be met with unfavorable conditions and quickly wither and die off.  So is the same with the seeds we sow into other's lives.  Into our children's lives.  Weeds pop up so fast and require so much cultivating that I believe the only way to win the battle is to overwhelm with all the good stuff so as to drown out the bad.  To set my sights on what is important and let the rest go out of focus into the background and die off.

For instance, either I can focus on the wrongs my children do everyday and become overwhelmed with the job at hand and become discouraged, or I can focus on the little things they do right and affirm them, or water, that seed that's starting to show through.  The weeds surrounding it will eventually die off in due time if starved of water.  I think the latter is probably the better thing.  Which is also the basis of Positive Parenting.  To focus and uplift and shine a light on the good, not to dwell on the bad.

Parenting is not all about weeding, but planting as well.  Along with that theme, there will also be a day to harvest from that which we have planted, and a season of Winter to follow.  I suppose that could be when our children have grown up and gone off to college and are no longer living at home.  Perhaps our new Spring will be when grandchildren come into our lives and the season of planting will begin again.

It's surprising the patterns that can be seen all throughout God's handiwork and how we can apply it to our everyday lives if we just take the time to look for them.