God Likes to Grow Things

If winning isn’t everything, then why do they keep score?   – Vince Lombardi 
As we round the corner to third base, our focus shifts to growing results but really, every play of the game has included growth, hasn’t it? At home plate it was GROWTH in our relationship with God. On first base it was GROWTH in our own character. At second base it was GROWTH in our relationships with others. Arriving at third base, it’s time to shift our eyes on growing and winning results.  This feels so natural for us, doesn’t it? After all, we know that growing...
results at work means
promotions, more money and more respect. Winning results with our personal health might look like lost pounds, increased strength or more energy. We are a results driven world and time is of the essence. We hustle at work, home and school. We think about goals and efficiency in a way that will take us to the next level.

Yet, God is in the business of reminding us that His plan for growth and results can look a lot different than ours. Kevin Myers and John Maxwell share in “Home Run: Learn God’s Game Plan for Life and Leadership” that, “Adam and Eve were the only people in history who started life fully formed. Every other person took nine months (give or take) in the womb and eighteen years in the world to grow into adulthood.” Did you ever think about that? This means that we all must grow and change. Results take time.

In the Bible, Jesus addresses the idea that enduring spiritual growth takes time. His parable (story) of the sower is found in three gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) and reinforces this idea that growth takes time. Jesus uses the analogy of a growing plant as a symbol for how we mature. Seeds are planted, tended to, grow, mature and are harvested. We can’t plant a seed for a tomato plant and expect to eat the tomato the next day for lunch. We must also remember that growth in all aspects of our lives takes time, too.

Spiritually, we can get in a hurry! When we feel sure of God’s will and we begin to pray, it’s easy to become impatient if the outcome isn’t instant. Perhaps you’re feeling a call to lead a ministry and the opportunity hasn’t happened. Or, you’ve prayed for God to restore your marriage and things seem to be worse. Maybe, despite your best efforts and hard work, you are passed up for a promotion. This is when Myers and Maxwell offer this reality check: “Will we give up on the process or grow up into productive people? I have to confess that over time I had begun to expect life to be harvest, harvest, harvest when it’s designed by God to be plow, plant, harvest. No one’s life is harvest, harvest, harvest.”

Have you ever felt this impatience with your faith? It may start with the feeling that you have heard a weekend message before. Or, that you’ve prayed the same prayer and read the same scriptures over and over. So, you skip a day of reading scripture, miss more weekend services and stop serving. Before you know it, you’re spiritually stuck and results are nowhere in sight. The thing is, the game’s not over. Not even close. We can get on the path to productivity and results, but we have to be committed to real growth that’s not wrapped up in worldly measurements or super-fast timing. We need growth that results in growing the kingdom and making you wildly successful in the eyes of God. Do you agree to grow?


Big Point: God is the author of success. He is the Creator, and He likes to grow things!

Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my tree.
— Martin Luther King, Jr. 
Kevin Myers opens his discussion of third base saying, As a rule in our society, people are esteemed for their career and material success. It seems to be true from sports to Hollywood, from politics to business. You can lack character, but if you have cash, you’ll be envied. If you blowup your marriage, but build your career, people call you successful. However, if you build up your marriage and family but your work world stalls, people dismiss you. ‘Nice person,’ they say, ‘but hasn’t done much.’ That’s why it’s important to remember one of life’s most transforming truths: God doesn’t keep score the way we do.”

So how does He keep score? Is God anti-success? Does He just not care? Fact is— God is the author of success. He is the Creator and He likes to grow things!

The growth and improvement process is woven into the very fabric of the world. God gives us a clear picture of how He keeps score in the parable of the sower. The parable is simple: the sower (Christ) scatters his seeds (Words of God) generously and they end up on four different types of terrain. Some lands on the side of the road, some on rocks, others in thorny soil and some in good soil. The first three groups of seeds die for lack of nourishment (no results) but the seed planted in the good soil flourishes (good result). The meaning of the parable of the sower is twofold for all believers: First, Jesus calls us to share the gospel and God’s Word with everyone. Secondly, each individual determines how well the “seed” (gospel message) that they’ve received will impact their life and to what extent they will yield results.

Portions excerpted from “Home Run

READ and THINK… What does the Bible say?
  1. In Matthew 13:23, Jesus reveals the results of the seeds that were sown.
Question: Does it seem wasteful that the sower scattered his seeds everywhere, not just on good soil? What were the spiritual results of the “seed” that fell on good soil? What kind of results were yielded?

Matthew 13:23 (New Living Translation)

The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!

 Throughout this week’s LivingItOut, all quotes are from “Home Run” by Kevin Myers and John C. Maxwell unless otherwise noted.
  1. Jesus didn’t let a person’s background of shortcomings stop them from receiving salvation. In fact, Jesus purposefully connected with them.
Question: Who are the “sick people” Jesus is referring to in verse 17?

Mark 2:15a, 16b-17 (New Living Translation)

15a Later, Levi invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. 16b …they (religious leaders) asked his (Jesus’) disciples, “Why does he eat with such scum?” 17 When Jesus heard this, he told them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” 

 As the Apostle Paul traveled to share the gospel message, he was keenly aware that God played the main role in drawing people to faith in Christ.

Question: How do these verses show us the roles that we play in sharing the gospel and the role that God plays in transforming lives?

1 Corinthians 3:6-7 (New Living Translation)

I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow.

 LIVE… What will you do now?
When in your life have you SPIRITUALLY felt like you were firmly planted in good soil? What kind of results did your life yield during that time?

Have there been other times in your life when you felt downtrodden, hardened or lost? What helped you decide to keep growing and keep getting results?

God’s plan for results at third base takes time: plow, plant and harvest rather than results, results, results. Think about your life right now. In what areas of your life are you plowing (breaking new ground spiritually), planting (sharing your faith or committing to discipleship) or harvesting (leading others to greater spiritual growth)?

PRAY… God, what do you want me to know and do?

The game of baseball is like life. Ask God to give you the strength to “keep on swinging, cause you might hit something!” Amen.
Jan Tanis
Jan Tanis

I'm Jan and I'm happy you stopped in. Please, leave a comment and follow along..

1 comment:

  1. This is one of the best lessons yet Jan. Thank you for sharing. Wishing you a beautiful day.
    Keeping you in prayers. Hope you are enjoying your break time!
    Hugs and Blessings, CM