A while back I posted about growing my new lawn and how growing seeds of faith takes the right balance of truth and love. Looking at my lawn this morning, I few more thoughts came to me about seeds of faith and how they grow.
But before I get to those points, I need to share what has happened with our lawn over the past two months. The lawn was growing nicely by mid-July. Because the weather was dry we had the sprinkler set to water it for a few minutes several times per day. We kept noticing that the lowest corner of the lawn stayed wet and a bit muddy. In fact, there was often a puddle in that corner.
Then, 4 days before we were scheduled to go on a 2-week vacation to New York, my husband said, “Did you realize the sprinkler hasn’t been on for 2 days?” I was surprised because the mud puddle was still quite evident. It was then that we realized the muddy spot was in line with our water main. So we had to dig a hole in the lawn to find out for sure. There was a leak, but thankfully the plumber was able to replace the water main without digging a trench across the whole lawn! It was fixed about 3 hours before we were scheduled to leave for our flight.
After we returned from New York, my husband spread some new grass seed on the dirt spot where the hole had been filled in. Last week I noticed the grass seed was beginning sprout. Unlike the first time we planted seed, none of the seed was washed away by the sprinkler or rain.
As I looked at that small patch of grass sprouts this morning, a couple of observations regarding seeds of faith came to me. First, these new seeds that were sprouting were surrounded by mature grass that had already sprouted and grown. They were not washed away because they were protected by the grass around them. In the same way, the seeds of faith are more likely to sprout and grow if the person they are planted in is surrounded by others with mature faith, who have already weathered the trials and tribulations of life and the testing that strengthens faith over time. It occurred to me that those who are more mature in their faith should do what they can to protect and nurture the faith of the new believers whose faith has just sprouted.
My second observation was that these sprouts are small and not as mature as the grass that surrounds them. But they are alive and flourishing at their current stage of development. In the same way, some believers in the body of Christ are less mature in their faith than others. But that does not mean their faith is less alive or real than that of more mature believers. Those whose faith is mature should not look down on or criticize the not-yet-matured faith of new believers. And new believers should keep in mind what Paul wrote to young Timothy: “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12.
My third observation was that someday all of the grass will look the same. What now are little sprouts in the midst of the lawn will someday just be part of the lawn, their mature blades indistinguishable from the rest of the grass. That is because on a basic level each blade of grass is the same. It started from the same seed. It is the same with believers. We all start with the same seed of faith being planted by God in our hearts. The same Spirit lives in each of us growing and maturing our little seed of faith so that we can be “confident of this, that he who began a good work in [us] will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6.
My lawn is like the body of Christ, each blade like a believer growing a bit more each day. No one blade could stand on its own for long and survive, but together they make up a beautiful lawn, strong and healthy. In the same way, no one Christian can stand on his or her own for long and survive, but together we make up a beautiful family, strong and healthy, growing a bit more each day.
It was [Christ] who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. Ephesians 4:11-16.
Are you like a baby sprout of grass in your faith? Then don’t try to go it alone. Find a body of mature believers who will help you grow in your faith and understanding of God’s Word.
Are you a mature believer? Then keep an eye out for the newly-sprouted seeds of faith that come into your midst and do what you can to protect and guide them so that they might grow to maturity. Speak to them truth in love, rooted in Christ our Lord.