I’m an experienced gardener. And by “experienced,” I mean that I spent approximately twelve hours [total] in my front yard last June pulling weeds and planting seventeen perennials. Three of my plants returned this spring. Fourteen of my plants withered away after spending less than a week in my soil, precious begonias among that number. Alas! Alack! And other such poetic laments. I have gardening experience, but minimal gardening success.
Look at it this way: twelve hours is like a full credit load at a typical university; so technically I could go to another college and not have to take certain classes because I already grasped the necessary concepts of said classes. That’s what you call experience. I just needed to make that clear because I plan on dropping some knowledge, and I would rather not have my horticultural authority challenged.
This year I did not pick up my trowel, gloves, or kneepads (tools of the trade, you see); instead, I decided to do some research. Did you know there are specific plants and flowers that survive and thrive in specific environments? There are certain worms and beetles that produce healthy soil, and certain flowers which attract those worms and beetles? Yes, a productive garden is far more than water and sunlight. Who knew, eh?
And now to take, what appears like, a rabbit trail. Don’t worry, we’ll return soon.
I love my church family. I’ve been a member of The Oasis (formerly known as “Faith Christian Center”) my entire life, given the fact that my father is the pastor; but, I often say that I would be a member if I didn’t have paternal ties to the ministry. The relationship I have with my extended family can best be described as loose love. We love each other, we respect each other, but we don’t really know or interact with each other. My family at The Oasis steps in to fill that void, and they do it so well.
Recently I went through a stressful time, trying to juggle school, ministry, and pounding on publisher’s doors. I didn’t tell anyone but Jesus, as is my habit (not a good one), but Jesus spilled the beans because next thing I know a fellow member was slipping me an incredibly encouraging card with some *ahem* financial encouragement as well. It was so timely, exactly what I needed and wanted. All I could do was, of course, thank that sibling in Christ, and then thank the Lord for planting me alongside of that member at The Oasis.
And now we’re back.
One thing I discovered in my research is a method known as companion planting. Companion planting requires solid knowledge of plants, soil, and wildlife – a basic understanding of biodiversity. The point is to focus on planting flowers, shrubs, etc that will support each other.
To spin off the cliché, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and one plant’s waste is another plant’s water…eh, I’ll work on the translation. You get the point though: What one plant gives off in excess, is exactly what its neighboring plant needs in nutrients. Plants that give off excess nitrogen are beneficial to plants that have nitrogen deficits, and planting them near one another creates a natural balance and beneficial relationships.
That’s what God does. He knows us, and knows exactly the type of environment in which we belong. He plants us in a local assembly. He shines His light upon us. He waters us with His living Spirit. However, we tend to overlook the effect that the other Saints have upon us, the companions God has placed in close proximity. Some have thorns which prick, but they also help keep our enemies at bay (i.e. pride, as Paul said, “Lest I be exalted above measure…” 2 Cor. 12:7). Other, more mature plants with deeper roots and taller, stronger stems, shade and shelter us from strong winds that they are able to withstand. And even still there are those who foster a friendly environment (refugia), creating a place that encourages growth.
Don’t neglect the importance of being, and staying planted according to God’s plan! He doesn’t place us in an assembly just because of good praise and worship, or because of inspiring sermons, but He also wants us to nourish each other. That’s the beauty of God’s unfolding purpose, it’s always about maintaining a good relationship with Him and with our neighbors (Mark 12:30-31).
Nobody is above or beyond the need to be planted in a local church. A lone plant is prey for scavengers and weeds, but one planted by Divine plan will flourish, and be fruitful. If you aren’t part of a church, or you aren’t satisfied with the one you are part of currently, earnestly seek the Lord in prayer. He desires to see us thrive, and He positions us to make that possible. And look for ways that you can benefit your church and fellow members. Why has God placed you near others? What qualities do you have that would help someone else?
The Bottom Line: There is purpose in your placement. Rejoice in where God has planted you! Let your roots grow deep, and appreciate the enrichment everyone brings to your environment.
Ephesians 2:19-22//Hebrews 10:24-25