Planting and Watering

Published on Jun 4th, 2014 by Pastor Ed Hlad | 0
Planting and Watering

Planting and Watering

Gardening is not one of my greatest passions.  It is not one of my wife’s either.  The idea of a huge garden does not conjure up romantic images of being some kind of self sufficient farmers.  I admire those who have gardening as a passion.  I like to walk with them through their gardens as they point out where the cucumbers are or where the carrots are growing (never really seen anyone grow good carrots though).  I often try to feel the same sense of pride as we walk through the grocery store…over here I have my tomatoes…and over here I am picking my peppers…it just isn’t the same.  This year we built a very small (2’x8′) patio garden.  Just a few tomato plants, cucumber plants, and four basil plants (leftovers from someone).  Not wanting to be too stressed out by the whole thing, I ran a soaker hose to my land and put a timer on the hose.  A self sustaining system.  High tech gardening.  I still have to weed it though…stinkin’ Adam.

I have been preaching through the book of Judges and the Lord has been placing on my heart some interesting thoughts that I am trying to work out.  Judges says that everyone did what was right in their own eyes.  My thoughts and meditations have taken me down several paths and one of them led me to the Parable of the Talents, the giving of crowns as rewards, and I Cor 3 – the Bema Seat of Christ.  I began to wonder about my own life and the lives of fellow believers.  Often we see in our lives where whole chunks of time – time that God has redeemed to be used for the kingdom – is wasted on doing what we think is right in our own eyes. It gave me a whole new visual picture of what might happen at the Bema Seat of Christ (the judgment of believers for rewards).  Paul describes our efforts for Christ here on earth.  We are constructing the kingdom building with either gold, silver, and precious stones or we are building with wood, hay and stubble.  God will then put all of these to the fire and what is left over after the fire is our reward.  I have always been taught that what Paul is speaking of is our motives in how we build.  Are we building for the glory of God or are we building for ourselves.  I believe that is solid teaching.  But the imagery that I have been picturing lately is us standing there looking at our part of the building and seeing large chunks of building that is made up of wood, hay, and stubble because of those times in our lives where we did not live as if we were part of the kingdom but just did what we wanted with our lives.  Days, months, or years of never using our gifts and never doing the work that Paul describes earlier in I Cor 3 as planting or watering.  Years of not sharing the Word of God.  Years of passive church attendance with no service to God or to others. Gifts of the Spirit that are rusting away due to lack of use.   It reminds me of the last servant in the parable of the talents.  “Lord, you demanded so much of me, so I simply buried what you gave me and did as I pleased” (my modern day equivalent translation).  Think about it…whole chunks of our lives wasted.  Thousands of rewards lost.  A non productive member of the greatest kingdom ever.  We are not talking about results…that is God’s job.  It is not as if we get judged for trying really hard but failing to produce.  We just need to plant and water and God takes care of multiplying that effort.  Yet…there are whole chunks of our lives where we are failing to minister the Word in any way in the lives of people.  When we see the result of the fire I am sure that there will be great feelings of regret.  Tears will be shed.  I believe it is those tears of regret that Jesus will be wiping away.

Maybe I misspoke at the beginning of these thoughts.  My wife and I do have a passion for gardening.  Obviously at this time it is not a burning passion but we did do some gardening!  I think in some way all of us have been given a desire to see things grow by our own hands.  It is just at this time in my life a small garden, OK, a micro garden that is pretty self sufficient, is best for us.  But I am not wasting the whole growing season.  I have planted and have provided for water.  I will weed.  I am happy with that right now.  I will not be happy when harvest time comes.  I will be somewhat disappointed.  I will see less fruit than others.  I will not feel the same satisfaction as those who tilled their own ground, planted more plants, carefully watered each plant, and sweated over each row.  But I will be part of the harvest.  That is OK.  Growing tomatoes does not have eternal consequences.

It may be that at this time in your life you feel as if your use of your gifts or your ministry of the Word is limited to a small patio garden of ministry.  Or maybe at this time God is giving you an opportunity to minister the Word in a larger way.  Either way, be faithful and plant and water.  But do not use the cares and stresses of life as an excuse to stop gardening.  To stand at the Bema Seat of Christ and see years of time that were spent doing nothing for the kingdom of God will be a time of great regret.  Praise the Lord that he has promised to wipe away every tear but now is the time to avoid those tears.

 

 

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