Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Spring (the season) (07/23/09)
TITLE: Spring Nurturing
By Edmond Ng
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Ask rain from the LORD at the time of the spring rain-- The LORD who makes the storm clouds; And He will give them showers of rain, vegetation in the field to each man. (Zechariah 10:1 NAS)Spring is a very active period for plants because it is the season for them to arise from their winter nap to begin a new stage of growth or to start a new life. Spring is like a time of fresh beginnings and rebirth to the gardeners, an ideal season for plant nurturing and fertilization to yield the best results. According to Susan Foster, a house plant advisor and writer for the Beautiful Home and Garden blog at blogspot.com, a beneficial rule of thumb when fertilizing plants is that less really is more when it comes to new nursery plants and fresh soil of re-potted plants because fertilizer nutrients are already in them. Fertilizing should therefore not be done for a plant that has just been re-potted a few months ago or for a new plant that has just been brought home from the nursery.
Much like the ways plants are taken care of, the Bible also teaches a similar lesson concerning planting vegetation in the fields. If a plantation hopes to yield good crops during harvest time, two seasons of rain is crucial. The former is autumn rain before or around seed time (Hosea 6:3), and the latter is spring rain just before harvest (Zechariah 10:1). Little or no rain usually falls during summer in the holy land, therefore spring rains at the right time on the fields after autumn rains are reckoned as crops secure for harvest in summer. If spring rains fail to fall after autumn rains, the soil of the ground will become hardened and will not be easy to plough. The grain will eventually wither away.
Planting seeds of faith to bring pre-believers to the Lord is very similar to house gardening and vegetation planting. When a seed is laid on fertile soil and planted in the heart, a fresh beginning or the rebirth of a faith left dormant in winter of cold and dark will start to germinate. Nurturing and fertilization will therefore be the next necessary step to help the germinating faith grow. Our part is therefore to spend time with the pre-believers to ‘fertilize’ them in increasing their faith and trust. We should however not overload them with too much spiritual talk, because when it comes to building faith, less really is more. A good rule of thumb when 'fertilizing' pre-believers is to let the Holy Spirit do His work in those who are first timers hearing the gospel or who have just been awaken from their 'winter nap' to return to the Lord and enter into a more active stage. The reason for this is obvious. The seed which has been laid in the hearts of the pre-believers is already at work by the Holy Spirit, and it is not dependent on us who plant or water, but on God Who sends the rain and causes the growth (1 Corinthians 3:6-7).
When preparing for a harvest, therefore, we must remember to pray and ask of the Lord for the ‘spring rain’ of the Holy Spirit to speak to the hearts of the pre-believers. Prayer is crucial and timing is important. Unless we do our part and let the Holy Spirit do His according to the perfect timing of the Lord, a germinating faith can become a diminishing faith leading to harden hearts that will be difficult to penetrate, and may eventually lead to lost souls.
Dear Lord, forgive us for being insensitive to the leading of Your Holy Spirit at times and to the people whom we hope to bring to You. Help us dear Lord to know when we should speak, when we should nurture and when we should stay clear and let You do Your work. Remind us Lord that our role is just to plant, water and nurture germinating faith, and it is You Who cause growth and supply the rain. Holy Spirit, be with us as we share the gospel to the unsaved. Reach their hearts that they may at the right time receive Jesus as Lord and Savior.
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