I have a terrible confession to make. I am a murderer. Stone cold. I have killed hundreds of… plants. I have the blackest of black thumbs the world has ever seen. Exhibit A: Pedro the Spider Plant. He hangs limply from the dining room ceiling, a testament to my dastardliness. Exhibit B: front porch planters. Once hosting the most beautiful of azaleas and gardenias, now they are dead sticks jutting up from the soil. The roses are next on my hit list. I just can’t seem to stop. Last year, I decided I wanted to murder off some strawberries, spinach and lettuce. I dutifully planted them with glee in my heart, knowing full well that they would be knocking on death’s door soon. I wasn’t wrong.
As I sat on my front porch one lonely winter morn, I glanced over at the destruction I’ve caused these poor plants. My heart was full of remorse. I knew that I needed to change, but how? Write a goal in my journal, of course! Isn’t that how these things start? A goal written down becomes permanently etched on your soul. It’s no longer wishful thinking, is it? So my goal this year was to keep at least one plant alive. I mean, if I could keep kids and dogs alive (cats are on their own), I felt that maybe I could turn over a new leaf, so to speak. My fixation now is my office plant, who by the way, is barely hanging in there. I water it. I give it sun. But it’s kinda drooping; the vines hang limply in the office window. But it’s not dead yet!
What a conundrum this is for me. How can I achieve such great things in my life and not be able to do something as simple as keep a plant alive? Winter has bled into spring. I sit enviously on my front porch gazing adoringly at the purple crocus across the way. I sigh deeply. Not from murderous intentions but the sad reality that perhaps my black thumb will never get any greener. I turn my head and look at the lonely planters that hosted strawberries, spinach and lettuce. Maybe I could try again this year? I am quite disheartened. But what do my penitent eyes see? Is that a shoot of green peeking out at me over the planter? I jump up and race over. Veritably, there are plants growing in my desolate planters! Strawberries, spinach and lettuce! Lots of strawberries, like a bumper crop! I didn’t kill them after all! My thumb became just a little bit greener that day.
I admit that I am no good with plants. Which is always so sad to me since I love them so much. I think that this is just a reflection of what life is like as a Christian. The Great Commission sends us forth into the world to share the joyous news of Jesus and salvation. But our words or actions may turn people away or they just don’t seem to respond to what we are trying to convey. How can I explain the depth of love that I hold in my heart for my Savior. It is, indeed, indescribable! Planting God’s love in the hearts of the unsaved is a lot like how I am with plants.
Jesus said in Matthew 13:23 NLT: The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as planted!
But it takes time from sowing to harvesting seeds. Sometimes even years. You cannot force someone to understand something that they are not ready for. However, never underestimate the power of God’s timing or planting the seed of truth. Don’t give up hope. Like my poor plants, sometimes they come back and sometimes they don’t. We mourn those that we can’t seem to reach but celebrate those we can. The important part is to keep going and live your faith out loud.