The sermon at church today inspired this post.
The pastor preached about how it is important to prepare yourself for what God has in store for you. He talked about how, in fact, if you have not prepared yourself to receive the blessings God has for you then your receipt of them may be more to your detriment than to your advancement. He asserted that women can ruin the relationship that God ordained by not being ready and that -more importantly- that God plants us in a soil (place) so that we can flourish. He posited that the soil might be uncomfortable, but that discomfort was worth it if the plant was still allowed to grow.
I walked out of church and drove around thinking about it, and decided that I’d thought about it enough that it was blog fodder. As you might already guess, I didn’t agree with everything he said.
Now, before I get started, if you have read any of my other posts, it probably doesn’t surprise you that I had a difference of opinion. I currently hold a job that allows me to change facilities, cities and even states every 3 months. The longest I have ever lived in one place in my adult life was when I was in college, and that was mostly because I was in college. As yet, I haven’t planted any roots that ground me anywhere. Cleveland is the city where I come from (
so run run), Chicago is the city that I would live in if there was no winter, and it’s safe to say I am still looking for the place that I will call home.
So let me go back to the soil analogy. I’m nobodies farmer, but I do know a little something about soil. There are many properties of soil that determine whether it will be plentiful, including the nutrient richness, the pH of the soil, soil structure and the organisms that live in it. That might be more than you care to know, but stick with me.
Once I plant a seed in the soil, the nutrients (along with those other properties I talked about) are going to help determine what kind of crop I yield. While the soil certainly can’t change the type of seed you have, it will determine whether or not the seed blossoms and how it will blossom. A nutrient rich soil will be more likely to be fertile, while a nutrient depleted soil may not bear a sickly fruit, if it bears any at all. A once fruitful yet untended soil that becomes filled with rocks or weeds may choke off the life that has begun to grow in it.
So let’s step back and define the nutrients. They can be faith, hope, love, support, self-confidence….I could keep going, but they can be anything an individual needs to help them become the person that God wants him or her to be. When those things get removed from our soil, the very things that help the soil be fruitful are removed, and the plant may wither, break off, or die before it becomes as great as it was intended to be. Maybe the plant grows bigger than the pot it was originally in and it is straining to survive; in that case, my grandmother would move it to another pot and see if flourish rather than leave it in the old pot and watch it die.
So many times I have said on this blog that change is growth. I know that all change isn’t for the better nor is all change easy, but I would argue that some growth comes from the change. If you put a seed in any type of nutrient-less soil, it may not grow as strong as it might have otherwise . If you pick that same plant up and put it in a soil that is more compatible, it may begin to flourish. Still, that plant isn’t pruned, it is likely to become weakened or deformed.
Oh, and we haven’t even talked about that seed spreading it’s seeds.
If you look around, the type of plant life in one area of the country may be very different from other areas of the country. While I have never seen a palm tree or a cactus in Cleveland’s natural ecosystem, I have seen dandelions in a lot of the places I have been. I don’t care how nutrient rich that soil is, if I plant a palm tree in Cleveland, it is likely to die. It’s not just the soil that helps that plant flourish, but the environment that seed is planted in as well. The same way every parent wants to make a better way for their child, some plants have to move from the soils that were grown in into soils to which they are more suited if the soil isn’t cared for properly.
For me, I’m not as concerned with staying where I am planted as I am finding the soil that is going to help me flourish…but I think that’s a choice each of us has to make.