By Allen Teal, chaplain, Rolla Presbyterian Manor
‘I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.’ — I Corinthians 3:6, NIV
April is the month for gardens. Although many things can be planted that are able to resist some of the cold and frost, most home gardeners do their serious planting after the middle of April. For years, I’ve been told that after April 20, the likelihood of frost is low in the Midwest.
People who put out gardens like to watch things grow. However, they all realize a universal truth. They alone cannot make plants grow.
Planting is the first step to growing.
Gardens tend to be a new beginning in an old place. This makes gardens a good object lesson for life. No changes come to a life without planting a fresh seed in old soil.
While new seeds may be planted in your own life, you also should plant seeds in the lives of others. The seeds may be the gospel of Christ, new life skills or a new area of interest. Such seeds can grow into a renewed life, more abilities or more pleasure.
You must give attention to seeds and seedlings.
The second step mentioned in I Corinthians 3:6 is watering. A good gardener never lets seeds or young plants languish in difficult circumstances. Furnishing seeds and new plants with food and water is essential for maximum growth and production.
Seeds that are planted into the lives of others also require attention and nourishment.
This can be accomplished by modeling proper behavior and attitudes for others to see. Training, help and friendship can go a long way toward giving the seeds a good environment for growth.
God causes growth and increase.
Nearly everyone who puts out a garden has experienced seeds that did not grow, or plants that did not survive. Ultimately, according to the Apostle Paul, growth or increase can only be caused by God.
Every seed that is planted into a life must be accompanied by faith in God to make it viable. Even the seeds that we plant in the ground require a measure of faith. We can put them in the soil, pour on water and provide plant food. Without God’s part, a harvest is never a sure thing.
The psalmist says, “They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest.”