Have You Ever Made a Plant Grow?




 If you answered "yes," then it's time to bring the Botanical Court into session and consider the evidence.

 Judge (of the Court of Common Peas): You claim that you grew a plant?

Defendant: Yes. See? (Shows fully grown flower in pot.)

Judge: And upon what do you base the claim that you caused this plant to grow?

Defendant: I bought some potting soil--and it wasn't even the cheapest brand! I put some into the pot, placed a few seeds in it, added some more soil and then watered it.

Judge: I see. What other actions did you take?

Defendant: I put the pot on the windowsill so it would get plenty of light. I added water whenever it was dry and I even gave it some plant food. Oh, and I also chased the cat away from it a few times! And the flower grew and grew until it became the fine specimen you see before you today.

Judge: Anything else?

Defendant: No, that's about it. But if it gets any bigger, I guess I might re-pot it.

Judge: I see. Based upon your description, I believe you acted appropriately and did everything in your power to promote the growth of this plant, within reason. This court, however, finds that you did not make this plant grow. Case dismissed. (Bangs gavel.)

Defendant: What?! You said yourself that I did everything right!

Judge: Yes.

Defendant: So then I grew it.

Judge: No. You created the conditions to allow growth but you did not actually make it grow. Did you inform the seed that it was time to sprout? Did it learn from you to push its stem up through the dirt into the sky or to drive its roots into the ground? Did you draw the water through the roots or convert light into energy?

Defendant: Um, not really. Well, you sure know a lot about plants!

Judge: That's why I wear the green robe, son!

The Apostle Paul reminds us in the third chapter of 1 Corinthians that God is the one who makes things grow--not us. Incredibly, the young church at Corinth was already starting to divide as the members took sides and declared themselves "followers of Paul" or "followers of Apollos." Paul answers them, "What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow." (1 Cor 3:5-7).

For some reason, the Creator of the Universe seems to delight in using us to "create the conditions" for the growth that He has in mind for a person, relationship, or congregation. And so we need to plant and water and occasionally shoo away the sin that creeps up onto the windowsill. But we can't make the human heart grow any more than an oak tree. If we understand this, then and only then can we focus on doing the job that God has given us to do. Matthew Cox, Director of Miracle Mountain Ranch in Spring Creek, PA, got me thinking about an aspect of the Parable of the Sower (Mark 4) that had never occurred to me. "I'm very interested in the sower," he told me. "He is faithful. He just sows."

How much less our harvest if we constantly stop to consider the worth of the soil! God makes things grow, whether they be stalks of wheat or human hearts. Not Paul, not you, not me. But we are "God's fellow workers" (1 Cor 3:9) and the Lord has assigned each of us a task. Somewhere there's a bag of seed or a watering can with your name on it!

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There are 3 comments

Amen, Rich! Well said, brother!

August 21, 2010 - 06:33

Great devotional. I liked how you showed us the growth in the plant is very similar to our growth. The Judge of all the earth, will someday show how all our "good works" will add up to nothing unless done in true humility and for the glory of God.

Rich Bushong
August 19, 2010 - 15:44

Shawn, thanks for the nice layout and graphic! I gave you this on the cyberspace equivalent of a balled-up sheet of newsprint and you made it spiffy. Thx for the effort!

August 08, 2010 - 12:42
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