When we first bought our home, it lacked a flower garden—a problem I quickly set out to remedy. I come from a family of gardeners; however, that “green-thumb gene” skipped me. As I tentatively bought supplies and researched which plants to buy, I stumbled across an exciting discovery: slow-release plant food! The concept intrigued me. Just sprinkle a handful of little kernels into the hole before you plant and they serve as a regular smorgasbord for your garden! Over time, the kernels dissolve and release continuous food to your plants. This was especially appealing and fantastic to someone as green behind the ears (and admittedly not around the thumb) as me! And it got me thinking . . .
Isn’t that just like the Christian life? This life of faith is a gift and a gradual process. The Lord who so lovingly established us in His garden also commits Himself to our growth, and this growth takes time.
He is not only the Good Shepherd, but also the caring Gardner of our souls.
He tends our soil with care and sprinkles the kernels of faith deep into the ground, ensuring that we are connected to His life source. Now that we’re planted, we must grow, and the Lord who so lovingly established us doesn’t leave us to the weeds but continues to nurture and supply us with everything we need for a godly life. In fact, Scripture says that God has “granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3). And what are these things that meet our day-to-day needs? Nothing less than His very self, as given to us:
in the power of His abiding Holy Spirit
in the consumption of His Word
in the communion of prayer
in the fellowship of the saints
A “quick dose” at church or via our social media feeds can’t replace the regular feeding that occurs from daily watering that slow-release kernel of faith. With each drop of moisture from His Word, each prayer from our hearts, the kernel of faith blossoms and releases the nourishment we need to withstand the harsh summer months, the frigid winter air, and to tenaciously poke our heads back up year after year, trial after trial, sustained by His grace.
Are we letting the faith He so graciously gave us do its job? Are we working out what He’s worked into us?
May we cooperate with the Spirit in our sanctification, standing beneath the showers of His Word, lifting our faces to the brightness of His Son, and feeling the work that He began in us release its life-giving nourishment.
May we live a slow-release life.