A tree planted by water.
Or maybe the farmer scattering seeds is what you recall from the parable [Matthew 13:1-9] that Jesus spoke of in the Bible. As a child I was taught about the farmer sowing seeds but as an adult I enjoy the idea of a tree more. The reason for this is because trees are consistent, you’ll hear this word a lot going forward. Plants, like those sown by the farmer are seasonal. These plants grow quickly, become fruitful but almost never multiply without help. Without consistent nourishment.
While working on a devotional recently with Bethany I was reminded of this because it is exactly what we covered in the devotional which focused on Psalms 1:1-6. If there was ever a single chapter devoted to the need for consistent nourishment in the bible it is this one. So after we completed the devotional which was about this nourishment we get from our connection to God, I let it marinate in my heart some.
One of the greatest things about God is that he is an awesome father. He makes sure we get the nourishment we need whenever we need it and it is abundant. The cupboard is never ever bare!
I would be lying if I said that I was that consistent in providing a soulful nourishment for my kids or those around me. It’s hard and we don’t get it right all the time. We aren’t supposed to either because we aren’t perfect and we were never made to be perfect. God made us according to his image and according to his likeness but he did not intentionally create us as a perfect creature. He created us with free will and the choice to not only be what he created us to be (human) but also to make the choice to be in his likeness. They are two different things that I want to cover in another article.
How consistent should you be?
When it comes to God, always. When it comes to your children, always. At least that is should be. Still there is something here that we should look at and it is what the farmer and his seeds represent. I want to look at it from multiple angles and hopefully inspire you to not only get nourishment consistently but to also give nourishment consistently. This applies to anyone you meet not just a friend, not just your Pastor and certainly not just a Christian. The person may not know immediately they are being nourished by the grace God has given you but in time they will realize it.
We are eternal servants to the spiritual nourishment of others. In fact, we are charged [Matthew 5:16] to show others this consistent nourishment because we are also nourished by giving to them.
How to be more consistent
It’s harder than it sounds otherwise I wouldn’t have been moved to the point that I am writing this! However I think that the method to be more consistent is simple. Just be mindful!
I forget this sometimes because I don’t do anything half measure and I don’t give up. It leads to arguments. Be mindful of what you are projecting to your children, to your wife or significant other. Is it in God’s likeness? Then stop. Put yourself in a strangers shoes a moment and look at yourself, this man, this dad with his children or his wife. How are you being perceived when you are with them?
Even if we are experiencing rough waters within ourselves we should project kindness. Even Christ who prayed at Gethsemane went quietly with the guards when arrested knowing that his fate was death. Did he want to run? His humanity may have but he prayed fervently and God heard his prayer and saved him from the eternal separation that the sin he bore would have caused. Instead he knew that he would be separated from his father only for a little while and this gave him the strength to carry on.
This to me is so very important because how can we nourish our children if we put separation between them? We should be making every effort to speak kindness to them even if we may want to send them away when they are misbehaving or not acting to our adult standards. I forget this and I think you would be hard pressed to find a parent who has not done this.
If we look at the farmer we can place him in to four different categories of spiritual nourishment;
- The seeds that fell upon the wayside were eaten by birds. These seeds signify the uninvolved Christian who jealously holds close the love that God charges them to spread. Their work is no nutritious at all.
- The seeds that fell upon the stony places. These seeds signify the hard-hearted Christian who spreads the love God charges them to spread but not to everyone. They bear fruits swiftly and they die just as quickly because their work is not nutritious enough.
- The seeds that fell upon the thorns. These seeds signify the inflexible Christian who does not know how to encourage the growth of other Christians. They can spread the love that God commands us to spread but often-times they will leave the new believers without a safety net. Their work is a trickle and the fruit they bear will grow but eventually it will slowly die.
- The seeds that fell upon the good ground. These seeds signify what God commands us to do! This is the servant Christian who is involved, open-hearted and the flexible child of God who approaches the stranger and loves on them regardless of the circumstance and then after bringing them to Christ continues to walk with them and encourage them as they take their next steps. Their work will bear fruit that lasts the hard winters and seeds that carry in to new seasons.
Let me ask these bold questions of you. What kind of man are you? Are you giving consistent nutrition? Are you seeking consistent nutrition? You should be. We all should be, both man and woman. I should be.
I will. I will be a tree planted by the water.