Friday, December 28, 2012

Changing Focus For The New Year

If you have ever done any gardening you understand the concept of seeding. Gardeners start as early as they can to prepare the soil to receive the seed. Then they plant the seed and wait for something to happen. They know that something is going to happen, that the seed will change and become something more. Jesus does the same thing but includes us in the process. Let's get the focus off of what Jesus does for us for a moment and consider our role in this process of seeding.

Jesus is using us all the time to plant seeds so that he is able to produce something from them. If we are walking with Jesus daily he is using us even when we are not aware of it because it is only natural for us to plant seeds. Consider Apostle Paul for a moment (Colossians 2:2):

My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love ...

Paul knew his purpose. He had purpose in every action he took, every sermon he preached, every letter he wrote. Paul was keenly aware of his purpose. That is where most of us stop. We are aware of our purpose but we have little expectation of the seeds we are planting producing anything. Paul's purpose for his letter to the Colossians and Laodiceans was that they may be encouraged and united but he knew that this was only a seed for what would follow:

... so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding ...

An encouraged heart and unity in love is not the goal but a seed because from these things comes the full riches of complete understanding. It is amazing what an understanding of God's love produces in us, a rich life beyond anything money can buy. But these riches of complete understanding are in themselves only a step in the process because from this something else is produced:

... in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ ...

Yes, the full riches of complete understanding produces a deeper relationship with Jesus. It brings us closer, into a greater intimacy with our Lord. As we come closer greater things are revealed to us, our understanding increases, our mind and heart are more spiritually inclined as we are guided and taught by the Spirit, a fuller revelation of all things Jesus is given to us so we know him more. From this relationship we have access to even greater riches:

 ... in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

We gain wisdom and knowledge, not from the great institutions of man, but from our deepening relationship with Jesus, who is the sources of true wisdom and knowledge.

All this Paul knew would come from the seeds of encouragement and unity in love he was planting with his letter. He expected things to happen when seeds were planted through him. He expected Jesus would cause things to be produced from these seeds, as should we.

We may never get to see the finished product or even what is produced from the seeds we plant but we can have faith that something will come from it. Speak that word of encouragement, demonstrate those acts of kindness, make sacrifices in love, tell someone about Jesus, write that status, give your testimony, smile at the stranger, buy your co-worker lunch, and expect it will produce something. You are not responsible for the producing, only the planting, so don't worry about what follows, but expect something will follow. Whatever we do in Jesus' authority will have a powerful effect as the Spirit grabs hold of it and gets to work.

We are not an island. It isn't about us any more. We have work to do and seeds to plant. We don't have much time left so we need to start getting serious. Stop focusing on what you need and trust our Father to take care of that, but you need to be busy with the Kingdom work. Get focused on what Jesus is doing for others through you. Scatter those seeds and let the Spirit do the rest.

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