Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Patience (08/21/08)
TITLE: PARABLE of the AFRICAN VIOLET
By Darlene Casino
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There was once a woman who loved to see people grow strong in the ways of the God. So she decided to give herself to the discipling of others.
Sometimes she offered to do bible studies with those God brought to her. Through prayer, acts of kindness or an encouraging word, she would reach out to people.
One day she became discouraged in her well doing. Her efforts had not evidenced any fruit in quite a while. It didn’t seem that lives were being changed, or that any real thirst for personal growth was taking place in their lives.
“Why, Father?” she asked. “What am I doing wrong?
As the Mistress of the house passed a window over kitchen sink, her attention was drawn to an African violet plant. Not only did it appear to be healthy, it was heavily in bud.
Months before the plant had been very leggy and unattractive. So she cut it way back and placed it in a lovely china cup, thinking, “At least the cup and saucer is pretty to view.”
Days went by, but the frail plant showed little sign of improvement. Finally, it was placed in a distant window, out of her sight. Often it went without water or any kind of encouragement.
The little violet grew very slowly, sometimes looking limp and withered. Yet, it held on tenaciously to life. Weeks went into months. Maybe it was that ‘little spark of life’; or maybe the Mistress just liked the teacup and saucer. So she moved it back to the kitchen window over the sink.
She even thought, “Surely, the late winter draft will kill it outright.”
Now, here was the same plant lush and full, budding profusely. That ‘little spark of life’ had been bathed in the Spring sunshine as it radiated threw the window and was now flourishing to the joy of its Mistress.
The onlooker’s mind returned to thoughts of the spiritual life of those she sought to reach. It seemed that some learners did require lots of attention and affirmation, yet show little external growth. Still, others grow in spite of unfavorable circumstances or lack of attention.
Could it be, as with the little violet, that once His life enters one’s heart, and the Son shines on one, growth must follow: that is the work of the Great Designer to work from the inside out to produce growth in His timing? A gardener, or a disciple-maker, must have patience, wisdom and love to nurture the precious life within a learner’s heart.
Father: Help me to rest in your timing for the work you are doing in another’s life. Amen
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