I have a question for you today. Do you know the condition of your seed?
After all, the purpose of a seed is to grow, and we all know that a seed cannot grow to maturity when it is surrounded by thorns.
Lord have mercy, I have experienced some truly thorny situations and people in my life! And let me tell you – my seed was not growing as it should have been. It was struggling – gasping for air, clinging to life – because the environment in which it was planted was not conducive to its growth or success.
However, by the time that I’ve realized that I’m in a thorny situation, things have become so complicated that it is difficult to discern what to do next. After all, what are you supposed to do when it looks like the thorns are invading your circumstances, and are threatening to cut off the very source of life that the seed needs in order to grow and thrive?
Well, in all honesty, there isn’t a whole lot that the seed can do on its own. The only way that the seed is going to make it is if the Master Gardener intervenes, and the seed is planted in a healthier environment, replete with nutrient-rich soul.
In order for the Master Gardener to do this, He must first begin the painful process of extracting the seed (perhaps a wee seedling at this point) from among the thorns. Consider that this process is difficult not only for the seedling, whose tender leaves and stems will likely be bruised by this process, but is also deeply painful for the Master Gardener, too. After all, He never intended for the seed to grow under such harsh circumstances.
Once the seed has been extricated, then the real growth can begin. The Master Gardener, in His grace, provides all that the seedling needs to grow and thrive – abundant supplies fresh soil, and plenty of sunshine. He also allows for rain, because He understands that the storms of life provide the water that the seedling needs in order to grow. Under these optimal circumstances, the seedling will grow. How can it not?
After all, if the seedling is wise, it will fully submit to the Master Gardener’s plans, rather than insisting on staying among the familiar and predictable world of the thorns.
However, if the seedling unwisely remains among the thorns, then it will surely die. The very purpose for which it was created – to produce mature fruit – will not be accomplished, so in the eyes of the Master Gardener, this seed will not have succeed. Its life will instead be defined and dictated by external influences – the thorns – rather than by what it already has on the inside: the ability to produce fruit.
Note that the verse does not say that the seed cannot bear fruit – rather, it indicates that the seed is unable to bear fruit to maturity. This is an important difference.
Have you ever tasted an unripe orange? It’s green, right? It looks like an orange in every other respect, but you can tell that it’s not mature, because it is green. The color warns us that the fruit needs more time to grow and develop, and should not be eaten. Also, the taste of the fruit tells us immediately that the orange is not mature – its taste is bitter and is most unpleasant. As it is with underdeveloped fruit, so it is with us as people.
So I ask you again: Do you know the condition of your seed?
Here is my prayer for today: Dear Lord, thank You for this convicting passage of Scripture. I do not want to be the seed among thorns! I want to live, and I want to thrive by doing life Your way. When a stray thorn begins to intrude in my life, remind me that this is a perfect opportunity to call out to You, the Master Gardener, and invite Your intervention in my circumstances. However, when I do this, I need to anticipate and fully submit to the knowledge that You will likely drastically alter me and my circumstances in order to prepare me for thorn-free living, and this may take a long time – a lifetime, even!
Regardless, my goal is to be a healthy, growing seed for You who produces the kind of spiritual fruit that makes You happy. What kind of fruit, one may wonder? Well, You speak very clearly about the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV):
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
By the power of Your Holy Spirit, I ask for an abundant harvest of Your love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. And I ask that my seed would continue to bear this mature fruit as I grow in my relationship with, love for, and knowledge of You. In Your name I pray, Amen.