By Kristen Agnew Pittsburgh Standard July 02,
I was reading a friend's devotional writing
and the last phrase of this verse hit me:
"But the seed on good soil stands
for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and
by persevering produce a crop." (Luke 8:15, NIV)
Tending a garden or working a field isn't easy. I tried it with carrots
three summers ago ... ok, that's not the best example of "tending,"
because I left for my college semester before I could harvest them. They
weren't ready by the time I left. One could say I failed to "count the
cost" of gardening that year. But planting them took time, measuring the
space between rows, digging up the soil and watering them.
I also started growing indoor plants this
past winter. For the first time, I enjoyed 4-blooms at once. Peace
Lilies, Red Lion Amaryllis, and two White varieties I have yet to learn.
It was beautiful, but it required patience in first potting and then
So the verse mentioned encourages me to have this same attitude and a
bit more in my spiritual walk with Christ. It wasn't through beds of
roses that Christ walked, but through crowds and "broods of vipers" ...
He didn't get the best reception on earth, but He is now sitting in
glory. Christ's example is one of perseverance.
The Apostle Paul liked athletic metaphors and used one to describe how
we should persevere in faith: "Do
you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the
prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in
the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will
not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever" (1
Likewise, he encourages the Galatians:
"Let us not become weary in doing good,
for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up"
I think of the Sower who sows the seed, and that famous painting by
Vincent van Gogh. Seeds of Hope Church has showed tremendous initiative
in planting the Word in Bloomfield (how appropriate the name!) and I
think of them because the Sower is one of their symbols. If anyone in
Pittsburgh has not visited this church, I encourage you to come and
worship with us sometime.
In conclusion, there are many things that we may not understand in our
lives, we may struggle with habits, situations or sins that confuse us
and cause us to question authority or our own identity. Hardships may be
part of the process of the "Garden of Faith" that we, and ultimately
God, are tending in our lives. We may not like where we're at in a
certain aspect of life. Nonetheless, Christ died to bring us to God, and
through our repentance, we can have
"hope that does not disappoint us"--
which is what Paul again encourages:
"Not only so, but we also rejoice
in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;
perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not
disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by
the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us" (Rom. 5:3-5)
Kristen Agnew is a cell group leader
of Living Acts which is part of Oakland International Fellowship! She
also attends Seeds of Hope Church on Saturdays.