I have in my hand one of my favourite things in all of God’s creation – an apple! There are apple trees at the bottom of my garden – do you ever watch and marvel at the miracle of growth and the beauty of life with its possibility for nourishment? Apple trees don’t appear out of nowhere – the harvest begins with the planting of a seed. If you want apples then you must plant! The seed needs care and attention – if it is to bear rich fruit.
‘What are you growing in Temple Balsall’ asked an American one day – ‘Oh I don’t really do gardening’ I replied weakly! Not the garden she replied – your congregation – what are you growing – are they bearing a rich harvest. What are we growing here? How are we putting our faith to work? What is being brought out of us?
In an envelope I have given to you a seed – on the front are growing instructions. If you look inside you will discover something pretty small and insignificant. But in that seed is potential.
Three thoughts about this process. First, we should acknowledge the power of faith to transform even the most unpromising of seeds! Can we deepen our trust in God – our faithfulness in responding to His love and hope? Let God surprise us!
Second, nothing will happen unless you sow the seed! Take whats in the envelope and plant it – nurture it – talk to it! We need to be in partnership with God – co operate with his grace – be ready to take what is and grow. What do we want to bring to life?
Third – daily renewal. One you have taken your seed and planted it with Christ – let yourself enter into a deeper relationship. Time in prayer – preparing for worship – a disciplined pattern of worship – some time offered for others in service. You will need to tend to your garden of faith. Weeding, watering and care. Trust in Gods love and let us allow our faith to grow!