Sunday, March 28, 2010
Over the course of the last week, God has been impressing upon me some hard to swallow lessons. It's easy to 'teach' these lessons to others, but not so easy to apply them to myself. Beginning last weekend, over and over the idea of the seeds we sow in our lives and the lives of others have instant and eternal impact kept sprouting up. I heard a message on the radio on the way to school. As I was getting ready for church last Sunday, there was a sermon preached on a similar topic. In Sunday School, we touched on the Fruit of the Spirit and also talked about Christ as the Vine and we are the branches. At church, our pastor even talked briefly about something similar. In my personal Bible Study, the topic came up again. Do you think God was trying to get my attention?! It was like when I have to teach the same skill over and over to my fifth graders because it just isn't sinking in or when I have to repeat what I want to happen at home to one of our four children. Finally, the message started to sink in.
This isn't a new message or lesson. We've all learned from a very early age that if you plant apple seeds, you get an apple tree. If you plant pumpkin seeds, you get pumpkins. You can't plant apple seeds and get pumpkins. But in life, we don't tend to live by the rule of sowing and harvesting. In other words, we will harvest that which we plant.
As this message first started taking root in my mind, I, of course, thought of others who needed this lesson more than I needed it. My students needed to understand that they couldn't sow anger with each other day after day and expect to get anything but anger in return. My children couldn't expect to sow sarcasm and get anything except sarcasm in return. My husband couldn't expect to sow irritation and get anything but irritation in return. You get the picture? I was looking at everyone except the one that God wanted me to look at. This message, although a great message for everyone, was for me this week.
God used the people and Bible Study I heard/read as the seeds and the water and sunlight to plant the seed in me and then He did the work to get His message to take root in my heart and sprout into a change in my thinking and acting. After all, I couldn't plant reactionary anger with my students when they were planting anger with each other and expect anything else in return. I couldn't plant sarcasm or disgust with my children when they were not being so nice to each other and get anything else in return. I couldn't plant irritation with my husband when he was irritated and get anything else in return. Then, there are the seeds I have been sowing all on my own...apathy, laziness, resentment. Oh, this isn't the exhaustive list; I could go on. At first, I tried to justify that I didn't exhibit those things ALL the time, just every now and then. But the fact is, I exhibited them and then expected something different to come from them.
God revealed to me that I was perpetuating the bad growth from the seeds being planted around me, so to speak, and from the seeds I was planting all on my own. Seeds that were yielding fruit no one wanted to partake of. At that point, I was able to look at each of the areas in my life and think of ways to plant new seeds that would yield fruit that other people would want.
It was then that I had to seriously look at my own behaviors or non-behaviors, because this wasn't just about NOW, this was about ETERNAL impact, too.
Galatians 5:19-23 (NIV) says:
19The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
John 15:4-6 (NASB) says:
4"(A)Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.
5"I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he (B)bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.
6"If anyone does not abide in Me, he is (C)thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.
From the lessons God has been teaching and continues to teach me on the seeds I am sowing, I also have been able to talk openly with my family and my students. What a blessing!
God is so amazing! Something so simple as planting seeds, yet so profound as the impact I...you...we...through the work God does in us and through us...could have on someone's life.
On our chalkboard in the kitchen is the question...
I'm asking myself that question often. I invite you to do the same.
Have a blessed week!