The gardener answered, 'Give it one more chance. Leave it another year, and I'll give it special attention and plenty of fertilizer. If we get figs next year, fine. If not, you can cut it down.'" (Luke 13:6-9)
When I first planted my vegetable seeds, I planted them in little pots while I waited for them to germinate. I watered them and left them in a place that I thought was the right kind of temperature and then I waited. I watered them again and waited some more. I checked the seeds often, still no sign of growth. I reread the instructions to see how long I should have to wait, the days were creeping up. I continued waiting and still there remained no sign of growth.
A few days later there was growth! But not the kind I wanted. The plastic sheet had increased the temperature, making things nice and humid. Seeds are not the only thing that like to grow in humid conditions, so does mould. The only appropriately sized pots I had been able to find at the garden centre were made of organic material, and with the damp soil and extra warmth created by the plastic sheeting, a little mould had started to appear on the outside of these pots. I was mortified. The doubts in my head got louder "This is ridiculous, give up! Can you really do anything about this? It's all ruined, you failed."
I ignored these thoughts and instead went straight to our nearest B&Q where I found some small plastic pots. I tipped the seeds out, placed them in the new pots with some new soil and put them back in their position under the plastic sheeting. Then I waited some more.
Approximately three days later and what did I see?
I think sometimes he tweaks our growing conditions just as I had to with the seedlings. Maybe he alters our physical conditions as he guides us to move to a new house or job in a new town or country. Maybe he encourages growth by changing the group of people that we socialise with, orchestrating situations that allow us to cross paths with new people who will encourage us or inspire growth, or making situations that allow us to drift away from people who hinder growth. It could be that the special tweaking he does is not physical, but spiritual. Where it talks about fertilizer, maybe he gives us extra food - he might bring extra reading material or sermons onto our path by a variety of means with particular messages he would like us to hear so that we can grow in a particular way or learn a particular lesson in a season that might lead to a sudden growth spurt.
When I think about what plants need to grow, it includes light, water and food. As Christians, I believe we need the same thing but in spiritual form! You may or may not be familiar with the children's song, 'read your bible pray every day and you'll grow, grow, grow." As Christians we need to feed ourselves spiritually so we can grow spiritually; we need to read the bible and pray so we become familiar with God's ways and live life accordingly. If we do this we will grow spiritually.
If you follow me, you won't be stumbling through the darkness,
because you will have the light that leads to life.""
But if they confess and forsake them, they will receive mercy."
For the Scriptures declare that rivers of living water will flow out from within."
(When he said "living water", he was speaking about the Spirit,
who would be given to everyone believing in him...)"
Cry out for this nourishment as a baby cries for milk," (1 Peter 2:2)
"And a person who is living on milk isn't very far along in the Christian life
and doesn't know much about doing what is right. Solid food is for those who are mature,
who have trained themselves to recognise the difference between right and wrong
and then do what is right." (Hebrews 5:13-14)
If you feel malnourished, weak, fruitless or as if you have stopped growing, don't worry...God has not forgotten you and he won't give up! He won't leave you in barren state but rather desires to see you grow and blossom and produce good fruit. I firmly believe he will help you to do this if you call out to him.