Faith, the Fertilizer of Life
St. Thomas MTC, NY
1. Therefore we must pay greater attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it.
Summer is officially here! Summer brings warm weather, school vacations, graduations, summer jobs, and of course the summer vegetable garden. Many people (or at least their parents) make time to establish a sizeable garden in any available backyard space. Driving around in the summertime, the bitter gourd plant’s panthal is the easiest way to distinguish every Malayalee home in the neighborhood. Each garden requires hard work to maintain the crops. The growing plants require timely watering, good fertilizer, some pruning, and careful protection against bugs, deer, and other animals. The hard work is well worth it. If weather cooperates, one can reap enough vegetables to last the rest of the year. Just as budding plants require fertilizer to grow into fruit-bearing crops that sustain us, so too does our spiritual life require care and attention to become mature and fruit-bearing.
Most of us have grown up in the Marthoma church and have had ample opportunities to grow in our faith. From the time we could stand on our own, our parents placed us in the Sunday School. Sunday School is one of the largest fertilizers of our faith. Teachers bring the heroes of the Bible to life, providing us examples of how those who trust in God are able to have victory over their respective troubles in life. Whether it is a 9-foot giant, a lion’s den, or a great big flood, God is present and saves His people time and time again. Through Vacation Bible School, various conferences, Bible Studies, and even basketball tournaments, our faith is encouraged to grow. We are told again and again of the promises God has spelled out for His people, of the relationship He yearns to have with us, and of the response He requests of us. But how often do we “pay the most careful attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away?” (Hebrews 4:1)As we grow older, life experiences can also become the fertilizers of our faith. In Hebrews 4:4, it states, “God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.” This testimony was true in Biblical times and is still relevant today. Life is full of struggles, but also full of signs that God has not forsaken nor forgotten us. Faith, if nurtured, can in turn be the fertilizers of our lives. If we take the time to nourish our faith and grow in the knowledge of God, we become fruit-bearing. The fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control sum up the attributes of a Christian life. When we nurture our faith, it nurtures our life and the lives of those around us. Much like a plant that grows to produce a fruit and helps sustain those who eat it, when we bear “spiritual fruit”, we help sustain the community around us. Faith, when enriched, enriches our lives as well.
PRAYERHelp us, O Lord, to mature in our faith, to grow in knowledge and understanding of You and Your will for our lives. Help us to be living examples to our families, our parishes, and our communities. Help us to bloom where we have been planted. Amen.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:As we tend to our summer vegetable gardens, may we also look to our lives and pay careful attention and continue to nurture our faith to grow and become fruit-bearing.