Submitted by Pastor Julie Sanders Tarkio/Westboro UMC

As the days get longer and the sun gets brighter, the world seems to burst with excitement. I love seeing all the signs that spring is almost here. My favorite is watching the lilies peek out above the ground to see if spring is here. There is something wonderful and mysterious about watching as things begin to reanimate with life. New life is a beautiful and amazing thing. Look at seeds, for example. We start with picking out these dried up, shriveled, seemingly completely dead bits of matter. I will be honest, nothing looks less lively than a seed. Have you ever noticed that the tiniest seeds, like lettuce, are so small that planting them is like putting grains of coarse black pepper into the soil? Or maybe you have noticed that corn and bean seeds look like corn kernels and beans that have been lost on the floor of your pantry for six months left untouched by the mice? And yet, year after year farmers, master gardeners and backyard gardeners alike count on these seemingly dead bits of matter to sprout new life. And amazingly, year after year they do. Of course, not without hard work and commitment. Even backyard gardeners know you can’t throw seeds in the dirt and expect a harvest. It’s important to do things like tilling, fertilizing, watering, weeding, etc. These are the type of things that encourage seeds to sprout, take root and grow. Eventually, with patience and continued efforts we can produce a harvest that can provide for and nourish us.
It’s the same with our faith. God promises us new life. He brings forth the most amazing possibilities of new life from some of the most unlikely places. And that new life sprouts up in our lives, but it’s up to us to do the hard work and stay committed to tilling the things out of our lives that are not healthy and helpful to us. We need to fertilize our lives and continue watering our lives with worship, bible study, Christian fellowship, communion, good works, etc. These are the type of things that encourage the Spirit to work in our lives, and help our new life to take root. Without them our lives get out of whack. Now, even the most diligent of us sometime miss watering on occasion, our soil levels get out of whack, or there is something else we have overlooked completely. But just like crops in the field, vegetables in the garden, or flowers planted in a bed, you can see that something is not right. You will notice if the plant is drooping, stunted, malnourished, etc. You can see signs that the plant is not thriving. The same is in our lives. We get stressed out, we might start drooping, become easily angered, find ourselves extra impatient, etc. Like plants, our lives show signs when they are out of whack.
What a great time to look at our lives and see if there are places that we have been throwing seeds in the dirt wondering why they won’t sprout. Or maybe our lives are a little dry, drooping in places, could we use a little water? God has promised us the seed of new life. Jesus died to ensure that we receive it, but it’s our job to make sure it is being taken care of. This time of year is the perfect time to consider what would help us to continue to grow in Christ, and commit to doing what we can to ensure our life produces a great harvest.