So I had a few thoughts on the way to church this morning. What prompted this was the stunted corn that I saw in a few fields, stunted due to over watering. I was just noticing that water is what is required for the plants to grow up healthy and produce the fruit that they are being grown for. I got to thinking and before to long I was comparing the water of the fields to the milk of the word that we are all so familiar with. Water is good for the plants but if you sit there and water the corn all the time you end up with some really good looking corn with no roots system underneath it to support it when the stress of mid-summer heat hits. If you water all the time you are stuck watering it the entire time in order to prevent the plant from dying on you. In the same way I can see the way that the teaching that we all love so much can be like this water. Always there at the proper time and easy to get to, it leaves you dependant on it for the nourishment that you should be able to take up on your own by the time you have reached a certain age. True there are various things that will still modify your situation but I would still think that there is always something more you can be working towards to learn on your own so you are not stuck depending on someone else to do all the work for you . . . like the pump and spray nozzles on a pivot that do all the water gathering and distributing for the corn fields.
Another epiphany I had was how the church community is like a green house for Christians. The goal of a greenhouse is to bring seeds to fruition with plants that then go and bear fruit, sound familiar? The church is sorta like that in that we sow the seeds of the gospel and are than able to tend to the baby Christians as they â€˜sprout.â€™ The overall basic idea of the greenhouse is to root the plants well so that they have the system to provide nourishment to the leaves and create the vegetables they are grown for. The church is to help mature the saved to go out and reproduce themselves in their impact on others around them. And so start the cycle over again. A greenhouse plant that had been in the house for too long though is a very weak plant, set it outside and it will wither and die in a very short time due to the â€˜extremeâ€™ difference it experiences away from its natural environment. I feel that a Christian in the church has the danger of becoming a very nice looking plant and seeming to be all very good but outside of the church would be hardly able to stand up by itself and would not be able to survive for long without the protective world it came from. It is this stage that I think the American church has reached, with all the Sunday Christians who fall flat on their faces come any small criticism or confrontation.
We solve this problem in the plants with a gradual introduction to the outdoors by setting them out for a few hours at a time on a nice day and let them get accustomed to the forces that will act on them once they are in the garden. For the Christian I do not suggest that you need to go out and become used to the persecution but rather that you need to get out and experience a little of it at a time and when you hit a question that you have no answer for to come to the body and start asking the same things. You get to see the answer and you are building up the knowledge to resist the temptation to run away from such encounters in the future. Yeah it is tough but when you have spent a few years doing this you will find that you have built a foundation or set roots deep into the heart of the word and will be able to face severe attacks and come through not scared but looking for the answers and encouraged to see that even in this God has everything you need.
Also by facing those troubles and rooting your mind deep in scripture you are solving the watering problem. I have found that when you have to solve things for yourself and do so by digging into the word of God you see where it is all you need and shortly you appreciate the teaching you get but also know it from what you have seen. Being able to see what God has done for you in your life and keeping in mind that he never changes throughout all of time is so reassuring when things get tough.
I would suggest that in order to not end up the weak plant that you not only work through your own studies of the bible but that you also go out in the world and interact with them and see what kind of questions they are asking and go and search out the answers. You get to guide them into the scriptural path of righteousness and learn something new and of so much value from the bible.
It is a problem that we all face and I will be the first to admit that I do not do what I have just outlined very well. I would ask that you pray for me as I try to move out of the greenhouse of God and into the garden of the world and face more of the world that is at odds with Christ.