This morning Rosalie was telling me about a little tomato plant that surprisingly has sprung up in another potted plant. She didn’t plant it there, didn’t mean for it to take root there, but nonetheless it somehow found it’s way into the soil and is growing and apparently thriving.
As she described this little event I thought about how many “stray seeds” of faith have landed in the soil of my heart over the years… the random things people have said, the zillion sermons (!) I’ve heard, or prepared, the bible studies and classes I’ve attended, the worship music I’ve sung along with, the thousands of conversations with friends that all have contributed to my faith. In the “soil” of my life countless seeds of faith intentionally, or otherwise have drifted into my heart, taken root and become part of my personal “garden of faith.”
It struck me that as much as we all receive seeds of faith, we also are seed scatterers ourselves. All of us scatter “seeds of faith” into the lives of others… and at times we’ve probably scattered “seeds of weeds.” Seeds that carry the danger of choking the life of faith out of others. It hit me that we really need to pay attention to what sorts of “seeds” we’re scattering about.
It’s sobering that we can actually be part of deteriorating someone’s “garden of faith” with our hurtful words, our hate, impatience, harshness, negativity and lack of self control. But! Praise God! we instead can choose to be on the sunny Spirit side of nurturing faith! We can scatter seeds of love, joy, peace, gentleness, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control anytime, any day! Think of it! Our words, our deeds becoming part of someone else’s thriving, beautiful, fragrant garden of faith! In heaven I think we’ll see the loveliness of how our words & deeds have become part of other people’s lives! We’ll see what a powerful impact we’ve had on others!
As my time with you comes closer to ending, I’m savoring the joy of what a strong, beautiful “garden of faith” you are. As your transitional pastor one of my main tasks is to share what I see in you, and I can confidently say you’re a congregation open not only to your pastor scattering “seeds of faith” in you, but you’re such a spiritually mature congregation you readily scatter your “seeds of faith” in your pastor…something I’ll forever be grateful for. You generously scatter seeds of love, joy, peace, gentleness, kindness, and patience with your pastor, with each other and your community! Your next pastor like me, and like Ted before me, will have his/her “garden of faith” nurtured with your seeds of love & care! What a joy to know and love such a beautiful congregation as you!
Alongside you in nurturing faith,