Try growing a crop without seed. From the smallest spore to the most robust kernel of grain, growth starts with a seed. Gather together botanists and gardeners, geneticists and farmers; let them compare notes and share experience—it’s just theory without a seed. No seed, no growth. As church planters, we are called to cultivate seeds. But creating seeds is God’s work, not ours. Let’s explore the difference.
Nor can you grow a watermelon from mushroom, nor wheat from a rosebush. The seed contains the path and potential. No seed, no path, no potential.
What would our lives be apart from the possibilities of growth, or hope for the future? The seed itself is the hope. The greater the seed, the greater the possibilities. The greater the seed, the greater the hope. The greater the seed, the greater the future. And in these words we discover the great kindness of God toward us: The heavenly Father has planted a seed inside each of his children.
“You have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.” (1 Peter 1:23)
This is more than metaphor. It’s the reality deep within you, and me. He planted the seed. What’s more, he himself is the seed, imperishable, filled with the DNA of Heaven. It lies in the soil of our heart even now.
No one can create a seed. He has done for us what we could not do for ourselves. He has broken off a piece of himself and placed it in us. What we call “the fruit of the Spirit” is the outcome of those who cultivate what God has already given. Who has love that God did not first plant in us? Who has joy that did not first come from the fount of all joy? Who has peace apart from the peace of Christ dwelling in us? And on and on.
But everyone can cultivate a seed. Here is our hope, that to walk with him produces the fullness of the Spirit in us. This is not the desperate hope of one who has lost everything; it is the certain hope of one who has received all. We can live in the confident expectation that when we take his yoke and learn from him, we will receive a harvest of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. This is not a list of commands but the promise of his goodness come to fruition in us. Instead of trying to attain these character traits we can look to discover them and, upon discovery, nurture them to full flower. The seed is in our hearts, and we are the gardeners. If these traits are dormant in us now, even still we have the confidence that he seed has not perished; it is waiting for us to water it.
The harvest of his seed is the fruit of his Spirit living in us. Gordon Fee, that great encourager and scholar of the Spirit’s work, said, “The goal of individual conversion is for us to bear the fruit of the Spirit, that is, to be transformed into God’s own likeness, the image of Christ.”
No one can create a seed, but everyone can cultivate a seed. The Creator has supplied the seed. We can plunge our hands into the soil, filled with the confidence born by the Spirit Itself.