Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Gardening and Ministry

Over the past few weeks my neighbor, Jonathan Foster, and I have put in a garden at the house. We have been under the supervision of our children as to the quality assurance of our garden. We have planted lettuce, onions, potato's, arugala, strawberries, broccoli, carrots, and cabbage. As Jonathan's dad put it, "that is not food, that is what food eats." We are having a blasts. Every afternoon when it is dry we head out back with the children to look at our garden to see what has grown. I find great excitement in going out and checking on the garden.

You know I never grew anything in a garden until I planted the seeds. Imginge if Jonathan and I in conjunction with our children went out to "check on the garden," and we had not planted anything. We would just head out and stare at dirt, some weeds, and a few grass sprigs. Interesting, it is real tough to grow a garden when you have not planted any seeds.

This all hit me a few weeks ago when a NAMB Missionary came to share at our church. He said that North America has around 320 million people total with roughly 250 million of them now knowing Christ. He made a piercing comment that hit me squarely in my heart as a pastor. He said, "Churches come together on Sunday mornings expecting to reap a harvest, but there has been no seeds planted in the community throughout the week." So true. We gather together for worship on Sundays and we look around wondering where are the new people and where are the lost. There is none. Perhaps we gather together to "check on the garden" and there is nothing growing because we have not planted any seeds. No seeds, no new fruit.

Producing fruit is the responsibility of the church. Jesus said in John 15 that He is the true vine. He reminds us that His father is the vinedresser that prunes that we may bear more fruit. However, ten times in the next seven verses he tells us to abide in Him. He says in verse 8, "My Father is glorified by this, that you bear MUCH fruit, and so prove to be My disciples." When the body of Christ produces fruit God is glorified, and we prove to be the disciples of Christ. He even goes further and says in verse 7, "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it be done for you." WOW! It is amazing to think that when the word of God so saturates our lives and we so closely abide in Christ that when are prayers aline with His will we can ask whatever and God will do.

Church, we are to beare fruit so that God will be glorified. We bear fruit by going out and sowing seeds. We sow seeds by involvoing ourselves in the community and the world every day. I pray that we will not come to church to "check on the garden" without being actively involved in sowing seeds of the gospel in our home, our community, our state, and our world. May we be seed planters and so become fruit bearers!

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