We move into our next couplet of seasons with the season of planting and plucking up. Our attention today will be on planting and Friday will cover plucking up. Much like last week, we will show how we can develop our relationship with God in these seasons as well as help others. Also, we will compare the two in an end of week review just like last week. So let's get started with Planting.
When we think of planting, we often get the idea of the end result in mind. As we look out on the empty land before us, we see the fields of corn or the beautiful gardens in our minds. We don't often think of the tilling of the ground, the spreading of the seed and the initial watering and fertilizing required to spawn growth. One wrong or forgotten step at the outset and the product we are looking for is doomed.
That's the same thing we face when we have the opportunity to grow something new in ourselves and the Kingdom of God. We hear the words mission trip and think romantically of the new land we'll be visiting. We think of Bible Study, and we get pictures of tens and hundreds of people coming to Christ. We think of community outreach and we see every homeless person fed in a single day.
What we don't see is the money we must raise for the missions trip. We don't see the effects of a natural disaster, disease or war. We don't see the language and culture barriers that stand in our way. We don't see the amount of scripture needed to study for each lesson. We don't see the amount of nos, maybes and no shows we get for our Bible Study. We don't see the amount of red tape it takes to put up a soup kitchen. All of these problems require a plan. Just like with farming, there is a system we can lean to so we make sure the product we desire is reached.
1. Set a reasonable goal for whatever your ministry/God pursuit is
2. Research what your ministry God pursuit requires
3. Pray, Read your Bible and Fast regularly
Planting for the Kingdom
It's not just for ourselves that we are called to plant, but for others as well. We are sent out to preach the gospel to all creatures (Matthew 28:19-20). It is up to us to bring the message of Christ to others. We sew the seed of faith and salvation through every action, word and countenance we display each day.
The person you see in the grocery store is soil not yet sown. Your waiter at the restaurant is a crop waiting to burst forth. The stranger on the subway is a garden looking to flourish. However, just like with ourselves, we cannot expect them to become the glowing redeemed over night. Even with those who have miraculous conversions that only take moments, they still take time to develop.
Paul spent quite a while being tended by Barnabas before he was ready to be out on his own. Timothy had to undertake the same attention before he was ready to lead Ephesus. Elisha, though a great prophet, was just another follower to many before Elijah finally gave him the mantle. No matter how long it takes, we must be willing to tend and care for those we are trying to plant in God's garden.
Planting God in People
We do this first with regular interaction. Getting involved in someone's life will go further than any Bible Study or impassioned plea. When someone sees that you are invested in them, they'll get invested in you and what you think.
Second, we need to steer the conversation the right direction. Having fun and enjoying someone's company is fine. However, every interaction must be put through the filter of witnessing. I had a mentor who could take a card game and turn it into a teaching moment, not with a cheesy or forced segue, but with a simple change of tone and thoughtful discussion. Every time he did it, I felt the presence of God and knew that we were about to be blessed in the midst of our fun. He was able to accomplish this task through our last point: let God lead you
We can't hope to win someone with our or another person's methods. It has to come from God and that takes a commitment to the basics of prayer, Bible reading and fasting. If we will take our regular time that we laid out above and spend some of that time focusing on reaching the world, God will honor our commitment to His Great Commission and put people in our paths. What we do with them is then up to us.
Chris Farris is the author of The Way, a manual detailing how to implement the Beatitudes into your life. He review events and other media and offers other insights into writing and working for the Kingdom of God.