This past Christmas, my Christmas wish-list included something that had never been on my list before— books. And not just any books, but gardening books.
I got books on cultivating soil, germinating seed, growing vegetables, starting a composter, developing a garden, and discerning what to put in that garden. I treasured these books! I was so excited because, for some reason, deep down within me was this strong desire to establish an atmosphere in my backyard where organic life would burst through soil, provide food for our table, and be recycled back into the earth to start the process all over again. I wanted to be a part of creating an atmosphere where life naturally sprouted.
In short, I wanted to see things grow.
I believe there is something spiritual, something divine, behind that desire. And I also believe that this desire is found deeply rooted in the hearts of the people at Central.
Jesus felt that same desire and on multiple occasions expressed his confidence that the Kingdom of God would be planted into people, sprout, and grow into something awesome. He says in the 13th chapter of Luke:
“What is the Kingdom of God like? How can I illustrate it? It is like a tiny mustard seed that a man planted in a garden; it grows and becomes a tree, and the birds make nests in its branches.”
In Jesus’ story, this tiny seed grows to become something huge, and creatures all around are blessed by it. In the same way, the Kingdom of God is planted into the hearts of men and, through the working of the Holy Spirit, grows into something that all men benefit from.
When it comes to my backyard garden, my vision is that it will grow into a sort of garden utopia where things grow with ease— where I will pick the vegetables and fruit from it, and because of it other people are blessed. Unfortunately for me, gardens don’t grow by reading books. Gardens grow by putting in the hard work to create an environment where growth naturally happens.
Our dream at Central is that God’s Kingdom will grow one person at a time. We can read all the books in the world about how to make that happen, but, more importantly, we must put in the hard work to create an environment where people from all walks of life can come and blossom into the person God wants them to be. We try to do this by accepting people where they are, relating to them in a personal way, discipling them in a way that honors Jesus, sharing our lives with them and serving them. We do all these things with prayerful and expectant hearts that God will bless our work and provide the increase.
When all is said and done, we know we can’t do this on our own. Kingdom growth is always to be attributed to the Father, not the work of men. We will play our part, the part that God asks us to play, and eagerly wait and watch what God will sprout up through the hearts of men.
To God be the glory.