Fresh Hope – 31st July 2020

What are you growing? 

During lockdown many of us have been spending quite a bit more time in the garden, one or two projects, some new plants, weeding the borders, trimming the shrubs. I have to admit that I am not much of a gardener and would rather be sitting in it than working on it.

In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus describes the Kingdom of God as being ‘like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air perched on its branches’ (Luke 13:19). 

Jesus also refers to mustard seeds in relation to faith and we take from that account that the mustard seed is the smallest of seeds. Jesus is describing the Kingdom as something that starts in a small way and grows to strength and maturity when it is planted and nurtured.

In Luke 17:20 Jesus is asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God would come. The Pharisees were strict adherents to many precise religious rules and Jesus responds by saying ‘The Kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, ‘Here it is’, or ‘There it is,’ because the Kingdom of God is within you’.

So we have two descriptions of the kingdom as something that starts as a tiny seed that is planted not in a garden but within us. That seed needs to be nurtured in a church community; fed by the word of God and watered with prayer and worship in order that it grows within us into a tall and strong tree.

Even though I am not much of a gardener I know that if I just sit, relax and do nothing then the garden will not flourish. It will turn into an overgrown, weedy mess. I know that I have to put the time and effort into nurturing the plants.

It takes care, effort and work to grow a beautiful, fruit filled garden. What am I growing in the garden of my heart? And how am I feeding and watering it?

Richard Ashmore

A daily devotion for a better way of living.