Gratitude Day 879

Mark 4:26-29: Again, Jesus said: “God’s kingdom is like what happens when a farmer scatters seed in a field. The farmer sleeps at night and is up and around during the day. Yet the seeds keep sprouting and growing, and he doesn’t understand how. It is the ground that makes the seeds sprout and grow into plants that produce grain. Then when harvest season comes and the grain is ripe, the farmer cuts it with a sickle.”

Whew. We made it through Lent. Holy Week. Easter. We’ve tried to learn something new about ourselves, God and our relationship with God during Lent. We’ve walked the last days of Jesus’ live during Holy Week. We’ve lived the emotions, observed Jesus give his closest friends a new definition of love on the last night he was with them, cried at the food of the cross and heard how his body was quickly laid in a tomb before the Sabbath began at sundown on Friday afternoon.

And then, we waited. We waited until dawn broke on Sunday morning and we remembered that the tomb was empty! He is risen! He is risen indeed! We ate a big meal, pulled out our Easter baskets and eggs, and spent time with loved ones.

And then … now what?

We continue to remember. To observe how life-changing these events were for the disciples, the people who followed Jesus, the woman who stood at the foot of the cross and found the empty tomb. They didn’t figure it out for days. Weeks. Maybe even months and years. They had to remember and try to recall all those odd things that Jesus said. What did he really mean? Did he know this would happen? What did we miss?

The same questions we should continue to ask today.

Can we keep eye contact with our unanswered prayers and continue to pray?

When my faith gets rattled, can I continue to sit at Jesus’ feet and see what he has to say?

As I go through life and wonder what is next, can I keep listening and hearing the voice of God in my life and see what guidance and wisdom God offers?

Sometimes, our faith needs a slight shift. The discovery that growth in faith takes time, effort and purpose on our part. It means asking curious questions and not expecting an immediate answer. Growth happens best when we allow ourselves to put the time and effort into explore faith, knowing that faith is personal and unique for each person. It means that we will make some booboos along the way, let our hearts and souls get bruised once in awhile and continue to explore each and every day.

Mature faith doesn’t happen when we think we know it all, make it about what we think is “right” or place boundaries on how and where we discover something new. It accepts that faith can happen when we grip the hand of pain just as much as when we experience a mountain-top experience. In fact, we often can discover something new in these most challenging situations if we simply open our hearts to hear something new.

Jesus often spoke in parables; little stories where he took something the people of his day knew well and turned it into a teachable moment. In the parable shared with this post, Jesus talks about when a farmer plants seed and it grows. The farmer may not understand exactly how and why the seed grows … but it does.

In these planting parables, we often think the point of the story is about the soil or the farmer. The seed takes root based on the kind of soil it is planted in. the farmer is consistent in raising the crop.

But let’s not forget the seed. It’s the seed that is really at the center of the story. Without the seed, the rest of the story is irrelevant. It loses its meaning and purpose. With no seed, there is no story.

The seed is like our faith. If it never gets planted, watered and cared for, it will not grow. If the seed stays in the packet, it continues to be dried-up seed. Unless the seed is intentionally put into the ground, watered, nurtured, watered, hoed and cared for, it will never produce a harvest.

So, think about YOUR seed of faith. Has it been planted, cared for, nurtured and watered? Have you allowed the tiny seeds of faith inside of you the opportunity to discover something new about God, your relationship with God and yourself? Are YOU putting in the time, effort and opportunity for your faith to deepen, be challenged, discover something new and grow?

What is the biggest limit on most people’s faith from growing? They stop wanting it to grow. They get frustrated or busy or disappointed about something that happened within the “church.” Believe me. I have plenty of stories and experiences of personal and other reasons why someone has become disappointed with faith. Yet, this tiny seed of something remains with us, just wanting to be nurtured. Do we continue to put ourselves in a place where our faith can experience the opportunity to grow?

We are often our biggest limit in our faith growing. Read that again. Even if someone has disappointed us, hurt us or we feel God has let us down, it remains our belief and choice as to whether we make faith something we live daily. Faith is never static. We are either growing more in love with God and our neighbor or we are sliding away. God never moves. It’s we who chose which direction we move.

Yes, there will be times when our faith will feel very tested. Strained. Questionable. And it’s OK!! This is where we can honestly explore our thoughts. It’s when stop asking questions that I get concerned.

Yes, Easter has passed. There are lots of things that can fill our time and headspace this spring. I pray that we see these upcoming days as a time to continue to be curious about our faith. Explore thoughts that we have. Find a trusted friend where we can have a meaningful conversation about those parts of faith that we find challenging.

But keep the seed planted. Nurture it with love. Allow it to continue to sprout and lean towards the One who can provide all the sun, water and warmth it needs to grow. And celebrate little moments of faith where we remember we are beloved children of God. Amen.

For a seed of faith, I am grateful.

Blessings –

Dianne

Loving God – Thank you for the resurrection and hope the empty tomb brings. May I take the little seed of faith that believes this story and nurture it with You. Encourage me to seek growth in faith and partner with You for this to happen. May I discover something new and exciting about faith this week. Amen.

For more blogs featuring the theme of Grow, please check these out:

The Adventure of Growing With God by Sharla Hallett

https://sharlahallett.com/the-adventure-of-growing-with-god/

Simple Is Better: Knowing the Limits of Growing by Dianne Vielhuber

https://simplewordsoffaith.com/2024/04/01/simple-is-better-knowing-the-limits-of-growing/

Grow Effortlessly by Lisa Crowder

https://lisacrowder.substack.com/p/grow-effortlessly

Opportunities for Growth by Ashely Olivine

https://ashleyolivine.com/opportunities-for-growth/

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