We've had a different kind of summer here this year. Odd weather. Cooler than normal but rather moderate. Not a lot of rain. And the oddities are more noticeable in the garden where some plants still don't have blossoms and others are producing abundantly.
Like my broccoli.
I've been watching the five plants grow.
They seem to be in a tallest to smallest kind of line-up with the tallest plant growing quite big. It's loving the soil it's growing in. Soaking in whatever rain is coming. Capturing each ounce of sunshine coming its way.
The oddity, however, is that the plants look more than ample to be producing large heads of broccoli. Especially by now. So I took a closer look at the biggest plant.
Yes, there was a bit o'broccoli growing. But ohhhhh so small. Hardly noticeable really without getting a close-up look.
And the close-up look is not pretty. An odd head of broccoli is growing very slowly.
The broccoli has been given all the right things to grow. Moderate temperatures. Good soil. Rain to soak in. Sunshine to capture. And it has been growing growing growing. But little to no fruit. It's not taking all that good stuff to grow good stuff.
Don't you love the spiritual lessons found in the garden?
We can be given all the right things to grow in our faith. A healthy church fellowship. Good teaching and preaching to soak in. Worship that captures our heart. And we may be growing growing growing. But there's no noticeable fruit.
It's easy to be always taking in, isn't it? The hard part can be taking all of that good stuff that is "in" and applying it "out". Taking the steps of faith to actually live it out loud. When you do that, your faith will be tested and fruit will grow from those experiences.
Remember what the fruits of the Spirit are? Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Galatians 5:22-23) It's hard to actually grow in those qualities if you are within your little garden unless your own little garden is filled with people, particularly small children who can challenge you to grow in EVERY fruit of the Spirit.
Often the best fruit growing happens when taking a step of faith to be involved in the lives of others - especially the others who haven't been in good soil, are lacking a soaking rain, and have been living in darkness far from the touch of sunlight. It is during those contacts that you have to draw from the Holy Spirit to extend love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. It is those moments when you realize it isn't about growing growing growing in your own little garden, but growing through the Spirit of God who lives in you as you realize it isn't about you at all. It's all about Him. It's about being His hands, feet, and heart in the world that is His garden.
Soooo, are you just gonna grow or are you gonna go?