Seed planting is easy. Patiently believing they will germinate is something completely different.
I do a regular bible study with my children on Tuesday nights. It is a great tine to be one-on-one with each of them. I encourage them to share things spiritual, to tell me about their lives since the last week, how God may have been working in their lives, what they may have seen in others, examples they have witnessed etc. Sometimes I get a nugget for two between the three for them, but for the most part it is business as usual for these 11-13 year olds. Yesterday I was having one of these bible studies with my youngest son, age 11. The particular passage of scripture we were covering is not important, as my understanding of the results of my sharing is what I feel God is wanting me to focus on.
I was covering a passage ion scripture that has had a profound effect on my understanding of scripture, my understanding of the Triune God, and of my relationship with God (Father, Son & Holy Spirit) while I'm here on earth. This passage was a head-slammer for me. It taught me more about God than I thought it ever could know in a very practical sense, and it profoundly changed my life in how I handle my relationship with God. It provided a clarity that, to me, could not be found anywhere else in scripture. As you can see, this was an important verse to me. As I shared this with my son, I was impassioned. I shared it with profound conviction and bared my heart to show the practical application of this intense and reflective passage and the way that it changed the way I thought of and related to God. His response, "uh, what?" all the while smiling!
I was shocked! How could a verse that has such profound meaning be lost on anyone? I figured I must have simply not explained it well enough. I went back through the passage, re-read what was in there and then re-expressed how it has affected me. Response: "But I don't get it," now almost laughing! So… patiently, I went over it a third time. "Well, OK, but why is that so important?" I was flabbergasted. He just sat there and smiled at me!
Then the Lord reminded me of something. It's almost like some sort of symbiotic reaction to my blood pressure. When the pressure hits a certain peak, a valve opens in my brain and feeds me an appropriate scripture. If pressure is not thereby reduced, another scripture is released and so on, until either I get the point God is trying to make, or I pass out –thereby closing the valve of my mouth, which up to this point has been the source of the problem that God is trying to correct.
What God reminded me of is this: Matthew 18:3 "Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven." I had to pause and remember something. My job here is to show people Jesus. Whether they are 11 or 100, the job is the same. Share with them in such a way that Jesus is what is seen. Make it so that His love and desire to you them is what is understood. Even little kids understand love, and in its simplest form. Why do kids love candy so much? Because it taste good. We do not need to teach children that it is the taste buds on the tips of their tongues that recognize sweetness and so that's why it is better to hold sweet candy or chocolate in the front of their mouth to get the best, most long lasting flavored from it to get them to like candy. In the same manner, we do not need to teach, or make sure that little ones understand the finer points of the Trinity or make them memorize and recite the thread of Romans Road verses in order to understand the gospel and that Jesus loves them! In some stages of life, all we really need to know is simply that Jesus loves us!
Of course it is good to know, and we must strive to understand, as much as we can about God, His character and His word. We need to know the gospel inside and out, and we need to know about the Trinity and that the Holy Spirit lives in us as a representative of Jesus and a gift from the Father who cares about all His little children. But all in good time. We are called to grow. We are called to mature. But all in God's time. Paul describes us as needing to be bible 'carnivores', if you will. Seeking the 'meat' of scripture knowledge, and to not be satisfied with the milk of the Word. There is time for meaty theology, and there is time for milky, but whatever the time, it needs to be in God's time.
I got slapped a little but by the Holy Spirit there. Patience is a big part of love. But when we start seeking experience over substance, and pushing knowledge over love, especially on one's not ready, we are pushing too far. I learned even better how to encourage without pushing, and even more so, how I need to not be worried so much about immediate results. I learned that I planted seeds that day, and I need to remember that seeds do not germinate in a day. But that smile told me that the seed had taken some root. I am a farmer of God. I plant seeds. Someone else might water, someone else might nourish. We get the added benefits of reaping from the advantage of more workers being in the field, but the harvest is His. It's always His.