“Hi. My name is Ned, and I’m a coke addict.”
A chorus of “Hi, Ned” was the response from the group gathered around the table.
To those who have never been there, that opening statement sounds so simple. Looks can be (and are often) very deceiving.
Ned went on to share, as he put it, “... all the seeds that God has planted in my life, and all the ways I killed them outright, choked them, or just let them wither and die.”
He shared what a miracle it was that God kept “..planting away — more and more seeds, even now, even today.”
After 15 years of cocaine, two wives, four children and a winning lottery ticket, which he “lost all of up my nose,” Ned was amazed that God was still willing to not only plant seeds in him, but use him to plant seeds in others.
Now clean for five years, this Jesus parable (Matthew 13:18-23) was one of Ned’s primary tools for mentoring newly recovering addicts: “Now listen to the meaning of the story about the farmer: ‘The seeds that fell along the road are the people who hear the message about the kingdom, but don’t understand it. Then the evil one comes and snatches the message from their hearts. The seeds that fell on rocky ground are the people who gladly hear the message and accept it right away. But they don’t have deep roots, and they don’t last very long. As soon as life gets hard or the message gets them in trouble, they give up.’ ‘The seeds that fell among the thornbushes are also people who hear the message. But they start worrying about the needs of this life and are fooled by the desire to get rich. So the message gets choked out, and they never produce anything. The seeds that fell on good ground are the people who hear and understand the message. They produce as much as a hundred or sixty or thirty times what was planted.’” (Contemporary English Version)
Have you looked around in early springtime? It seems that plants pop up everywhere. Trees and bushes sprout new growth all over the place!
How about in you? That’s right — what God-planted seeds — some long forgotten, some in plain sight, some (face it) you’ve been trying to choke out — how about them?
I saw a beautiful plant just the other day. From a distance it looked as if it was growing in the middle of a sandy wasteland, so I was curious. I walked closer, and discovered, much to my amazement, that someone had mulched and fertilized this pretty plant — in the middle of a desert-like waste area!
Even when it seems like you’re walking through a desert wasteland in your life, God’s seeds can grow. Take the time to see them, get fertilizer and mulch to nurture them, and wow! Watch them grow!
Here’s the absolutely amazing, grace-powered fact which Ned testified to that evening — God never gives up on any of us. Ned’s right — God just keeps “planting away.” What will you do with the seeds God has planted in you? How will you feed and nurture them?
What will you do this week (maybe even today) to increase the “good soil” in your life? You’ll be totally amazed at what God can (and will) do to increase your life’s fruit — maybe even “a 100, or 60 or 30 times” what you ever dreamed possible!!
So again I ask you. How about it?