I did some garden clearing the other day and once again I was amazed how resilient and stubborn the weeds were. Frustratingly, their top part would come off but the roots would remain so strong. I even found one that went underground for over a meter in length, hidden from view. On the other hand my herbs that I toiled over struggled so much and seemed to be so fragile.
I remembered that Jesus talked about plants quite a bit. It seemed pretty unusual for a carpenter. I guess He was undercover after all… The parables (sower, tears & wheats), the vine and the branches – all show a favourite theme. The point is that the natural world would very often provide us with helpful picture of the spiritual life. Though I have very little clue about gardening, it is sufficient to make me realise that ministry is not that much different.
This reinforces my conviction that we need to invest much in discipleship (spiritual growth/formation). This will be a process of being co-workers with God at the painful and often tedious uprooting of the elements of the old man (in Bible-speak , the flesh). It will be continuous and often reoccurring roots might bring some surprises. Then we must remember the fragility of the new plant and its constant need for watering and creating a helpful environment for growth.
What is God uprooting in your life right now? What is He growing? Who are you nurturing in their growth?