Lenten Devotion: March 20th

  • March 20, 2014

Mark 4:21-34

Spiritual Gardening

This passage contains the parable of the mustard seed. Jesus likens the kingdom of God to a “grain of mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.”

This is certainly a metaphor for the growth of Christianity, but more interesting to me is that it can also be read as a metaphor for the “seed” planted within us by the Holy Spirit, one that—if nurtured by us—will grow to yield the fruit of the Spirit: “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).

I like that image, of a tiny seed within me flowering into a mighty plant. But as I consider how big my particular plant might be, I realize that I have not been the most attentive gardener. How have I nourished that seed and given it room to grow? Have I watered it with wisdom from regular Bible reading and study? Have I exposed it to the sunshine of worship and reflection? Have I stunted its growth through a preoccupation with “getting and spending” rather than by watching vigilantly for tiny shoots of joy and grace?

Is my fruit going to be tiny and tasteless? I hope not. I’m heading to the garden now.

Holy Spirit, you have blessed me with a seed. I pray now for gardening skills worthy of this precious gift.