My thumbs are the farthest thing from green. They are closer to black if I’m honest. Come to think of it, I guess you could say I have gangrene thumbs. I kill nearly every plant I’ve ever had and vegans everywhere could consider it cruel and unusual punishment.
If the world came to an end today and all I was left with to survive on was a packet of seeds and some potting soil you would most certainly find me dead. Most likely clutching that unopened pack of seeds with my head resting on the potting soil I decided to use for a pillow.
I don’t have the patience or the skill to grow much of anything.
What’s ironic though is that I am fascinated by farming. I will nauseate my wife with questions about agriculture as we drive to her parents house in Iowa because I’m amazed at what those men and women can do. Year in and year out they produce food for the world while I can’t produce a single tomato for my tacos.
How in the world are they able to sustain thousands of acres of land and grow exactly what they want!? Thank goodness they can otherwise I’d starve.
As Christians, we don’t have the option to farm out our spiritual growth to someone else. The difference between our botanical green thumb and our spiritual thumb is that regardless of color our spiritual thumb will always produce something.
In Galatians, Paul describes two different types of spiritual harvests.
“The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” - Galatians 5:19-21
He starts out by showing the yield of what he calls the “acts of the flesh”. These fleshly acts are at times hard to read, but they are without a doubt accurate. And what’s chilling about this list is that it is 100% possible for us to produce these things on our own. It takes ZERO involvement from God. We can use our gangrene thumbs and create a bounty of weeds without end if we want, but it will never draw us anywhere near God. In fact it will always leave us on the outside looking in.
Thankfully there is other ground to plow that is far more productive.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” - Galatians 5:22-24
In contrast to our gangrenous thumbs is God’s gorgeous Hand. When we pursue Him and His will it will always lead to far greater fare. The difficult part of this farming is that it will not allow for instant gratification. Just like an apple tree doesn’t grow like a Chia Pet overnight so it is with our spiritual fruit. It sometimes takes time and tending to each individual plant to produce the fruit you desire. This will mean pruning and failing often in order to create the greatest crop possible in our life.
There isn’t a Whole Foods for the soul where you can pick and choose the spiritual fruit you want in your life. It requires you to till up the soil of your soul and start planting the seeds of God. You have to water it with the Word, soak it with prayer, and tend it with care and compassion to produce the crop you desire.
Believe me, you may be surrounded by a house full of dead plants you’ve killed, but with God as your Gardner the fields of your soul will be teeming with life.