Photography by Haas Mengloi
The Process of Planting a Garden
Planting a Garden entails many different aspects. There are a few different stages that take place from the beginning of planting a seed to the point of becoming a mature plant. Before the seed can be planted, the ground has to be prepared and fertile. I believe that this part of the process is life circumstances, which prepares the heart of a person to receive the Lord. The heart is the ground that needs to be tilled, prepared. Life and the enemy have a way of driving us one way or the other, either to Jesus or away from Him. According to the Bible, it is within every person on this earth to be drawn to the Spirit of God.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NIV) He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
Now the sower does his part, plant the seed, and within a short period of time, he watches as a plant comes forth. This is the process of evangelism, how ever that may look. Evangelism sows a seed into the heart that God is preparing for its ultimate destination in eternity – Heaven. There are many people who are called to walk up to a stranger and just start witnessing, encouraging or praying for that individual. Even though they plant a seed, it does not mean that they will get to pray with them to receive salvation. Sometimes they do! But if you don’t get to do it all, it’s ok. God will bring others to further the process in that individual.
The Waterer has to come back and water. His participation is to water, not to sow the seed. He may water for days, and then someone else takes over the watering process. Some people are called to water the plant, maybe help with healing the heart and soul, maybe encourage them and/or pray with them. This helps for the next stage of people who are also called to water — to disciple the plant.
There are those that are called to continue the watering process. This is another stage of growth in the plant. These are people who come along side of the plant to help equip and train – basically disciple the new believer. This stage can take time. It is entirely the choice of the individual that is growing as to how fast they want to grow. If you’re called to water, expect the best for that person, but don’t put unrealistic expectations on them. We want the person to thrive, not to fail. This is a careful process. You don’t want to under water so that they are starving, but you also don’t want to oversaturate them so that they drown and die. So the waterer is a mature believer who discerns where the person is in their relationship with the Lord.
While growth is taking place, pests come quickly to destroy the plant. You have to find a pest killer to get rid of the bugs attacking the plant. Some people are called to come along side and teach the new believer how to stand and war against the enemy. At this point, they teach them about their authority according to the Word of God. They’re taught about the full Armor of God. Then the individual has to learn how to stand on his/her own and defeat the darts of the enemy. This is another stage of growth.
You also need someone who helps to weed the garden. This person will show the new believer how to pull the weeds out at the root. Weeds grow to try and strangle out the life of the plant. This is when discouragement in life begins to enter. Offense tries to take hold and cut off the life of the plant. Weeds steal from the plant. If the weeds are left alone, they will take over the whole plant. The weeds have to be pulled out at the root. This is where a Mentor is helpful in a person’s life.
Also during this stage of growth, the plant needs fertilizer to help it grow. Fertilizer is food. The plant must eat in order to stay healthy. Pastors and teachers are called to feed them the Word of God so that they grow and are healthy. Hopefully, by this point, the person has learned to find food themselves as well so that they are constantly being fed.
People called to sow and harvest seem to really enjoy their part of bringing in the harvest. There is such a reward personally to be a part of that process. Yet the people who have come along side to heal, protect, encourage, mentor, weed and feed may not feel the same excitement as the sower and harvester because their job is continuous. Just as the person watering or weeding may find little excitement for the sowing and harvesting process, the sower and harvester probably do not enjoy the tedious day-to-day process, either. We all have different gifts and are not called to the same process.
Who are you in this process? Are you a sower? Are you called to water? Are you called to weed? Do you help feed or are you a harvester? Know what you are called to and do not allow the enemy to bring guilt or condemnation to you for being the one that is called to water and not to sow. In different seasons of your life, you may serve in a different stage of the Salvation and discipleship experience. You may serve in all of them; but remember that no matter where you serve, each stage is vitally important to the new believer.
What is common to all of these people is that they all share in the harvest. Their goal is to bring the person from a seed, a baby plant, all the way to maturity. So regardless of which stage you are called to, God is pleased that you are working in His Kingdom for one common goal — to save those that are lost!
Luke 8:5-8 (NKJV) 5 “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell by the wayside; and it was trampled down, and the birds of the air devoured it. 6 Some fell on rock; and as soon as it sprang up, it withered away because it lacked moisture. 7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up with it and choked it. 8 But others fell on good ground, sprang up, and yielded a crop a hundredfold.” When He had said these things He cried, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
No matter where you serve in the harvest, I hope for each of us one day to hear these words from our Heavenly Father: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”
Matthew 25:21 (NKJV) His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your Lord.’