Paging through a
botanical magazine last winter, I found myself marveling at the beautiful
flowering trees and exotic plants pictured inside. In a moment of sheer
inspiration, I decided it would be awesome to have more in my yard than one
scruffy pine tree surrounded by a few faded wood chips. Whether impetus or
impetuous, this surge of enthusiasm compelled me to order the “Jasmine
flowering tree” so exquisitely displayed on page 5.
I was jazzed.
In fact, I couldn’t wait to get my plant.
Weeks after I had placed the
order, however, my excitement was beginning to wane. “Where’s my tree?” I
wondered. “Spring will be over next week, and I still don’t have an
Finally, a package from California arrived.
Staring blankly at the way-too-small parcel, I decided it must be the invoice or
perhaps the all-important stakes needed to support my new tree. As I opened the
little brown box, I simultaneously surveyed the area around me, looking to see
where the rest of my delivery was hiding.
After carefully unveiling the
mysterious arrival, I stared motionless into the shallow carton. Finally, in
disbelief and agitation, I drew out a package of tiny, unimpressive
My initial excitement quickly dissipated. “You’ve got to be
kidding me,” I moaned. “They actually expect me to plant these dead flakes?” I
simply could not imagine that I would have to WORK to obtain this tree.
Suddenly I came to a sobering realization: That’s how many people would
like to go through life—wanting results without doing the work, expecting a
harvest without planting the seeds. Unfortunately in God’s kingdom it doesn’t
work that way. In fact, most of what God accomplishes on Earth today starts in
When God wanted to send a deliverer to save mankind, He sent a
seed and placed it in a plain human package. No wonder those who had so long
awaited the coming of the Messiah were less than impressed to see an ordinary
baby instead of a king.
And what about the teachings of this infant
grown to full stature? He taught that the kingdom of God was like a seed which,
when planted, would grow gradually: “first the blade, then the head, then the
mature grain in the head” (Mark 4:28, NASB).
In other words, Jesus
told us that the dealings of God would almost always involve a maturing process.
God gives us seedlings of promise that must be nurtured and cared for until they
can stand tall like an oak tree.
So many times we get discouraged when we
don’t see quick results from our labors. We may even become so frustrated that
we are tempted to stop and quit. But God’s Word helps us remember this
principle: The plantings of the Lord begin in seed form.
In Old Testament
times when Zerubbabel was rebuilding the temple, people laughed and scoffed as
they compared the fledgling work to the majesty of the original built by
Solomon. But through a messenger the Lord sent reassurance: “Do not despise
these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin” (Zech.
Right now you may have a beautiful picture in your heart of
what you long for. You may even have dared to ask God for great things and have
sensed His promise to you of success.
But when you opened your hands to
receive, all you found was seeds—small, unimpressive conceptions. Don’t be
discouraged! Remember that seeds contain life and have within them the very
essence of your promise. If you plant them in good soil and invest yourself in
the nurture and development of them, they will grow and bloom forth with
Today, hear the Holy Spirit whisper to you, “Do not despise the
day of small beginnings, for I delight to see the work begin.” Plant your faith,
my friend, and watch and see what God will do.