Results come after you start.

If you have a handful of tomato seeds, you have a lot of potential to grow tomatoes. If you never place the seeds in the ground, all you will ever have is a handful of potential.

If you put a seed in the ground and walk away, it might grow. It might not. The degree to which a seed matures is in direct relationship to the environment it is placed in and the tending it receives.

If you place a seed in the ground and cultivate it in the right environment, give it sun, water, and healthy soil, it is nearly impossible for the seed to remain dormant. It can’t help but bear its fruit.

So it is with God. So it has been for me.

This idea of fruit has been on my heart for weeks now and so I thought I’d flesh it out here. It started getting so long, I decided it would be appropriate to break it into three parts. Over the course of these three posts, this is what I’d like to explore this with you: fruit will emerge naturally when we abide and walk with God both individually and communally. Conversely, if there is no fruit, then it’s time to inspect our gardens both individually and communally. It all starts with a seed.

I have been growing food in my backyard for a few years. My neighbors Chanowk and Judith taught me everything I currently know about gardening (I still have lots to learn). Beyond coming to my house and installing my garden, I regularly tune into their online classes and pop-up tutorials on their social media. Do yourself a favor and give them a follow—you will learn things.

Anyway, I found some heirloom (dinosaur) kale seeds (rawr) in my home seed library and noticed they were from 2018. I sighed in disappointment, thinking I had wasted an entire group of seeds because they were too old. Thank goodness for my wiser, way more experienced friends. I messaged Judith, hoping for some good news, but preparing for a truth torpedo. I was sure I had messed up. Well, according to Judith, the germination capacity of a seed “declines significantly with age.” In other words, the older the seed, the less likely it is to sprout. Dang.

But then those three bouncing dots showed up again. (You know, the ones that indicate someone is typing you a message.) “You can still use them—you just need to plant more,” she shared. Yes! There was still hope for these seeds.

Image from rawpixel.com

It’s not a seamless transition, in fact there are some flaws, but there are some powerful images in nature which I think reflect a little of what it’s like to seek after God, be transformed by God, and then bear fruit for the glory of God on the benefit of others.

As humans, we are predisposed to seek out truth, meaning, and purpose. In pursuit of these realities, we scatter seeds of curiosity here and there. Occasionally a seed will germinate, a sprout will appear, and we think we are onto something. Then inevitably, it will fail us and we will be left with the wilted leaves of disappointment. When we look for truth, meaning, or purpose outside of the perfect person of Jesus, we will always be let down. It happens all of the time—even for those who know God—like me. It has happened to me. Like last week.

Our pursuit of truth, meaning, and purpose will only ever be fully satisfied by the knowledge, love, grace, and presence of God. The longer we insist on living in a world without God’s presence, the more worldly input that is woven into our perspective, the more potentially challenging it is to recognize the truth of God when it is presented to us. In essence, we become blind to it. Our experience and observations of the world are too much to sift through and the cost of changing our minds is too great.

But if we plant enough seeds of curiosity, if we remain open to the possibility that God is the source of truth, meaning, and purpose, and if we are diligent to keep pressing into the questions that will naturally arise as we seek these things out, I believe God, the great tender of our gardens, is faithful to make himself known to us.

There is a flip side. Sometimes no matter how diligently we seek after knowledge of God, or an awareness of God’s presence, we can’t seem to find it. We spend weeks, months, years, even decades scattering our seeds everywhere in search of answers. We ask deep questions, share doubts, attend lectures, and we might have Christian friends share their wisdom. Even when you try really hard, sometimes the reality of God just doesn’t make sense. It can be deeply discouraging and you might decide it’s not worth planting more seeds, but hold on—I have good news.

It doesn’t matter how much time has passed—God’s timing is perfect. One day, as you faithfully scatter seeds, God will cause something to germinate—it will not wilt or scorch. It will last. God is the realest and truest entity in all of reality and what God begins he is faithful to complete. He will take your seed and cause it to grow into a plant and with proper tending, it will produce fruit.

We don’t get straight to the fruit though. As much as we love to go directly to the end results, God uses the in-between time—the space between germination and fruit bearing— to show us who he is, who we are, and what he has in store for us. It’s where transformation happens. Fruit comes as a result of the transformative process. We must learn to embrace the process of growth and transformation. {To be continued…}

Image from rawpixel.com

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