Monday, September 21, 2015

Failure to Thrive

He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 2 Corinthians 9:10

Recently my very generous and kind neighbors dug up three rose bushes from their yard and gave them to me to plant in my sad looking flower bed.  They even planted them for me and told me all the things I needed to do to help them thrive.  Out of the three bushes, my neighbor pointed out the one that was the biggest and should produce the most beautiful roses. The other two were small and a scrawny compared to the third one. So, day after day, I was very responsible in watering them and babying them.  I nurtured them, pruned them, and gave them special food.  Much to my surprise and in spite of all my efforts, all the rose bushes dropped all their leaves and appeared to be dying.  My neighbor told me that the bushes might “worry” from being moved and that as long as the stalks stayed green they should be fine.  Well, two out of three made it; the two scrawny ones.  The one that was supposed to be the best of the three is dried up and brown as I write this.  I still water it every day and have hope that maybe one day I will find a green sprig of promise on it somewhere. 

This experience made me think of us as Christians.  We give our lives to Christ and then we either thrive or stagnate.  God is our gardener and He diligently prunes and nurtures us, only, unlike the rose bush, we choose whether or not we will respond.  I still don’t know why I did everything the same for all three bushes and one of them didn’t thrive.  I want it to for the purpose of seeing beautiful roses in front of my house but I also want my neighbor to see her gifts to me flourish. She had sacrificed and given me these gifts and I wanted to do the best I could with it. I wanted to be a good steward of her gifts and not waste them.   God sacrificed and gave us the greatest gift of all and I know He wants to see us flourish.  He wants us to have that joy and abundant life as well.  John 10:10b I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.  He wants us to be good stewards of the gift He gave us and if we are, abundant life will follow.

I am so thankful that God is so much more patient than us. He is so longsuffering and He does not give up on us when the world does. We give up on people quickly.  We get tired of dragging them along through life and eventually we just drop them where they are and claim we have done all we can. I am so glad that God doesn’t do that.  He would have dropped me a long time ago.

Last night, after writing the first part of this devotional yesterday morning, I was working in my flower bed and to my delight, next to the very dead transplanted rose bush, was a beautiful green shoot of a new rose bush.  I really couldn’t believe my eyes because I really didn’t think it would come back even though I never stopped watering it.  We can be just like that dead, dried up rose bush - hard and crusty on the outside but still a glimmer of life deep down inside.  Really, really deep down inside.  Only God can resuscitate our lives and help us live again. He never stops loving us, caring about us, believing in us and nurturing us if we let Him.


Scripture to Claim:
But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. 2 Peter 3:18 ESV

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