It stood in the corner of our garden. For nearly a year, the branches were unchanging. While there was some glimmer of life with an occasional green leaf, it finally stopped growing and the branches slowly shriveled.
Several years earlier, my daughter enlisted the assistance of our neighbor, who had a green thumb, to help her with her middle school project of planting and growing a fruit tree. She bought an apple sapling, and our neighbor found an ideal location to plant it in our backyard. We had no doubt we would soon have fresh apples, especially under the tutelage of our skilled neighbor.
Why didn’t it grow?
We had the oversight of an expert gardener. We planted it in an ideal location. We diligently watered and fertilized it. There was no evidence of insects or animals that may have damaged or eaten it. Even our neighbor shrugged his shoulders. He had planted the same type of tree in his yard under the same conditions and it thrived. What was the difference? We reluctantly concluded the sapling may have been bad.
Like plants, why do some people grow spiritually and others do not? I had a college classmate who later attended seminary, intending to enter full-time ministry. I admired his faith. He was a leader in our college Christian fellowship. He was a gifted speaker and writer. He was matriculating to a renowned seminary. I was quite excited to see how God would use him. Sadly, things didn’t work out the way we both had hoped. After completing seminary, he drifted and dated a woman whom he got pregnant. They married and he never entered the ministry. He moved out of the area and we lost contact.
Light is sown like seed for the righteous and gladness for the upright in heart.
Psalms 97:11 (NASB)
God desires for all of us to grow in faith, deepening our relationship with Him through belief in Jesus Christ. When He plants the seed of faith in our lives, God blesses everyone with the skills and ability for it to nourish and grow. It is our responsibility to act upon it and honor and nurture this relationship. We may have been placed in the ideal environment to thrive and flourish. Yet, even with the support of family, friends, and fellow believers in Jesus Christ, we may fail.
There is hope. Unlike our dead apple tree, we can still be regenerated. No matter how far we have strayed from God, no matter how much we have been entangled by the worries and cares of this world, we can still return to God if we repent of our sins and rededicate our lives to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
Praise God for His grace and mercy to those who love His Son, Jesus Christ.
Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.