Saturday, May 10, 2008


Today we did some planting in our modest (front yard) garden, and expanded it by a couple of feet (at the rate we're going, we soon won't have to mow!). I also re-seeded grass in some of our (very shady, somewhat wet) back yard.

Working in the garden always makes me think of the parable of the sower. Specifically it made me think about how I can prepare the "soil" around me to be more receptive.

For example, before planting any of the plants or seeds, I first pulled out all the weeds, hoed to make the soil not too compact. If I were a really diligent gardener, I'd test the pH and other properties of the soil, to figure out how to best nourish it. I put down some fertilizer (but not too much)and worked it in. Finally it was time for the seeds--not too many, not too few, spaced at just the right intervals. But we're still not done--you have to cover them with the right depth of soil, and give them some water. Then comes the ongoing process of watering (but not too much), fertilizing, and weeding. And eventually comes the fruit.

Evangelism is probably the same pattern. You watch for spring--when there is interest in new growth. You test the soil, learning more about your friend and how they might be most receptive. You weed (or help weed), and breathe some spirit filled air. The analogy helped me understand why tumultous and "compost filled" times are the times spiritual growth is often seen. Not every seed germinates, and that's part of the process.

And it's exactly that--a process. At the mini-marathon, there was a church handing out little cards about how we're all running the marathon of life, and here are the four steps to ensure you cross theright finish line. They were well done, but my thought was, "this is encouraging to me, but it isn't going to convert my brother." It was just a single seed, thrown on soil that is more concerned about how his knee is doing than God at that particular moment. But who knows--maybe one of the 35,000 people had been thinking spiritually related things as they were running, and it fell on fertile soil.

I guess that's why I appreciate the relational and developmental approach to evangelism our church takes--I don't think they even call it that. Sure, God does do radical things in people's lives and can go from seed to fruit overnight, but the relational model just makes it easier to prepare the soil and nurture the seed.

Thanks, Lord for the sowers, weeders, fertilizers and waterers in my life. Some of them weren't even Christians, and I pray that they find You soon. Help me to be a good spriritual gardener to those around me, whether they haven't yet heard the Good News or are growing in You.

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