By Linda Joyce 21/12/18
I am up early 4:00 am reading and moving through Growing in Prayer by Mike Bickle – it’s one of our ministry reading assignments. I get distracted often- two coffees later … sorting this and that straightening my pillows, I reach for the Daily Mail – brought yesterday (but unread as I was busy) and ready for the garbage bag. I turned through the pages – Brexit , Brexit, Brexit… and other Tom foolery ….but then stumble on an article by Stefan Ruczacki about a ‘blooming genius’ David Austin, who developed a rose that repeatedly blooms and gives off fragrance.
I love roses and I know Father is a master gardener, (see my other piece on this site The Master Gardener ) who prunes us and desires a sweet ever blooming fragrance. I am about to move house and planning a cottage garden, so I am intrigued and read on.
It is an interesting article (unlike the rest of the fodder). As I read , I come across a sentence which immediately opens up my spiritual ears and gets my attention. I see it is a message for me, the church – for pastors, leaders, teachers, evangelists.
The writer is sharing how David Austin managed this horticultural feat of repeat blooms and roses, roses with fragrance. David(now passed) had explained to him :
‘… You have to try many times over a long period to get results’. He had explained that he had the land to plant out hundreds of seedlings, giving himself ‘.. a wide range from which to choose ‘. But most of all ( the writer wrote ) ‘He was blessed with the gift of spotting likely candidates and nurturing them’ .
As I read this I thought of pastoral care, M24 and evangelism and the constant need to keep not only our ears open for the word, but our eyes open for the seed – that precious seed – both physical and spiritual. I know not every seed is a planting of the Lord.
I thought about the UK and the mission plans, both here and further afield and abroad. I thought about the seed.
The author went on to say ‘the remontant gene in the rose , is recessive and has to be ‘coaxed out’ through multiple ‘back crosses’ ie crossing the newly produced rose repeatedly with one of its forebears of similar genetic makeup going on to produce hundreds of varieties….’and (I add), to ensure against its demise.
This for me is the ‘iron, sharpening iron’ and stirring up each other to ‘go'(a communal commission) to sow, plant, impart and reproduce.
Not every seed is good or mixes well with others . There are bitter figs, brought through disobedience.(See Jeremiah 24:1-10) which can poison, cause disease or stagnate growth. As the scriptures and the elders used to say ‘Not all Israel, is Israel’ . I say, not every seed is a rose seed. We have counterfeits and camouflage and degenerate ones- ie can’t reproduce; some weeds also look good and grow tall and strong but choke good seeds. Some roses have spikes and thorns, some have barks..!! The right seeds need to be identified, nurtured and kept alive.
Father is reminding me that there is a fault line in our species brought about through Adam and the fall , but, by the eternal washing of water by the word, watering the seed , regularly returning to the cross and what Jesus did the see can survive. Our Jesus , came in human form, lived as a man, experienced much suffering, scourging and a cruel death on the cross, yet remained without sin’ . He was the holy seed of God.
We will continue to propagate righteous seeds and see lasting fruit from our labours, if we do it right and follow the master plan. Father is concerned about the cell and the seed. For seed to reproduce (and healthily), other things (which are/affecting the plant /the crop) have to die. Cut it out!
Jesus is the seed of God, (he is never past tense). He is the offering that is planted for us, planted with blood (in eternal communion and breaking of bread) his life, sweat and tears and from groaning prayers.
As any gardener knows, it takes sweat and tears…. to produce to bring forth and before we see and smell, that blessed aroma. Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it abides alone.
Once on the ground or in the ground … the seed needs looking after… if it is to grow and reproduce after ‘His kind …’
Jesus is our Rose of Sharon – as He is so are we, in this world – or should be. If we abide in Him and allow him to abide in us, we will produce much fruit.
Avante!! Up now ! and be encouraged. Bloom where you have been planted and nurture and water the precious seed both near and far. Keep a watchful eye on them. The fields have been made ready – there is an expanse and much work to do. Father is producing in us a sweet aroma of grace, as we continue to labour with him for the harvest.
I’m sure there is more … !!