And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper” Psalm 1:3.
Plants are surprisingly resilient. I had a plant hanging by the patio that a storm rocked the irrigation tube away from the basket. I was busy, and by the time I realized the problem, the beautiful flowers were a basket of brown death. I had nothing to lose, so I trimmed back the dead parts and restored proper watering, God supplied the sunshine, and in a few days, I saw that there was a little life left growing in the basket. Within four weeks it was as good as new. I have seen some plants shriveled with neglect miraculously recover when given just a little extra tender-loving care. God does most of the work; it just takes a little extra effort on our part. As a teacher, I have found children are a lot like that. They will thrive in a less than flawless environment if just given a bit of the same TLC. God intended that plants grow and produce fruit. Plants will largely grow whether I give them attention or not. It is as natural as the sunrise and sunset. But when I put the proper effort into my flora, I can multiply their success.
One of the most important chores in gardening is to properly water a plant. Too much and it will drown; too little and it will shrivel. A regular schedule helps promote good growth as well. The Bible is likened to a well of living water. It is so important for me to reach into that well often and regularly. As I fill my own soul, it promotes my Christian growth; the Bible calls this perfection.
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” II Timothy 3:16-17.
The word perfect has lost some of its meaning through time. It carries with it the concept of being finished, maturing, coming to full fruit. While a mature plant can withstand more water abuse, it will still suffer damage. As I grow and mature as a Christian, I can then support a myriad of life, like the parable that Jesus taught of the mustard seed (Matthew 13:31-32).
Another chore is to regularly add nutrients to the soil. As a successful farmer requires fertilizer to replenish the soil, so I and my students need the essential manna to restore our souls. Plants suck nutrients out of the soil, and over time verdant plants will become less lively as essential nutrition is depleted from its environment; so, mature Christian, be warned that you cannot live on yesterday’s manna. American farmers have learned the importance of crop rotation and fertilizing and today produce a huge bounty of crops to be a major “breadbasket of the world.” As a plant needs different elements to prosper, we need a variety of nutrients as well. We need the Old Testament and the New Testament. We need the Levitical laws as well as the parables of Jesus. In addition to Bible topical study, I read the entire Bible through at least once a year to make sure I am getting a balance of Christian nutrition. We also need a balance of godly hymns, and songs, and spiritual songs to feed our roots as well as personal prayer and meditation to rebuild our soul. God has ordained “the foolishness of preaching,” so we too need the “reprove, rebuke, and exhort” of our pastor and teachers and the fellowship of regular church attendance.
Without essential water and fertilizer, a plant is condemned to a slow death; with proper TLC, a plant will thrive. God help me and the reader not to simply survive, but to personally prosper as we reach into the Word of God for essential Christian elements to supply the necessary ingredients for a balanced and productive Christian life. God help us to generously share those nutrients with those that God allows us to teach that they may produce abundantly as well.
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Jim Carey was the first staff member hired by Pastor Trieber in 1976. For over 40 years, he has served in many capacities. He has taught in the Christian school since its inception and has taught junior church every Sunday for that entire time as well.