Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the LORD, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
Colossians 2:6-7 (ESV)
I have a large cherry tree in the front garden. Unfortunately it’s not the variety that gives us sweet juicy cherries for human consumption. It produces small sharp fruits. It’s a bird restaurant particularly loved by blackbirds and pigeons. In late spring the easiest cherries to reach are gobbled up first and then the birds resort to precarious balancing acts to get their beaks around the rest. The pigeons fall off occasionally as the twig they are swinging from gives way under their sometimes considerable weight. There is a rapid beating of wings as bird and insubstantial branch part company. But in spite of their inability to weigh up the physics of weight-of-object and strength-of-branch, they do eventually clear the tree.
However, in the back garden each year I pull up tiny saplings of cherry, as well as oak, ash hawthorn, alder, maple and yew. I must pull up dozens throughout the year. Left to itself the place would become a forest.
The wind does a major part of the seed spreading. But the birds sow too. As I watch them swinging from the branches in the front garden, I know what is going to be the result and the work I will have to do in the back garden: peering around shrubs and under bushes and branches to uproot their work. They are inadvertent planters. They don’t know what they are doing, but if you just happen to want wood, they’ll do the work for you, unasked and unpaid.
May I suggest that we too can be inadvertent planters as we go about our daily lives, never knowing if whatever seeds of faith we scatter will fall on good ground and be used by the Spirit to take root.
So, rather than thinking of all those saplings I am going to have to pull out, I need to rejoice in the fact that, though we may never in this life know the effect we have on someone else, it may be used in the work of God, so that others may take root in Christ and grow. And if we are rooted in Christ, no one can come along and pull us up.
Then, as Colossians 2:6-7 says, any who are then rooted in him can go on to produce fruit, that in turn can be scattered and used by the Holy Spirit, to the glory of God.
Father, may the life of Jesus be shown in our lives, never needing to know that you may have used us to further your work of love in bringing many sons and daughters home to glory.
Study by Hilary Buck
About the writer:
Hilary Buck is a Minister and pastors the Lewes congregation of Grace Communion International.
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