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Stark: Why Things Die

Two succulent plants – one prospering (right) and one withering (left).
Two succulent plants – one prospering (right) and one withering (left).

The two succulent plants above were planted at the same time one warm day this past summer. They were both healthy and flourishing when we purchased them.
But something happened to the one on the left. Why did it shrivel up?
We watered both of them at the same rate, yet one of them all but died.
As you look closer, you can see that there are quite a few weeds surrounding the plant on the left. Weeds, acting as thieves, stole moisture and nutrients from the area — nutrients that were meant to give life to the plant.
Screen Shot 2014-12-08 at 9.52.21 AMThe weeds kept the good from entering the beautiful plant as intended.
We too are like these beautiful plants. We often go without the nourishment we need to really flourish and the result is stunted spiritual growth.
It is quite likely that you have a few weeds around you right now, sucking up all the nutrients and moisture that God intends for your life. Some of them might be:

  • Time on useless endeavors that keep you from being quiet and still before God.
  • Patterns of behavior that keep you trapped in your current state.
  • The lure to be seen and for others to like to us.
  • Fear or anxiety about a past or future situation that keeps us frozen in place.
  • Old hobbies that don’t add to our lives or to others.
  • TV shows, books and magazines and Internet sites that feed our lower self.
  • Repeated thoughts filled with guilt, hatred, anger or jealousy.
  • People who take from you, instead of giving.

So, what are the nutrients that give us spiritual vitality?

  • God’s satisfying and rich truth found in the Bible.
  • An openness, in my heart, to receive the love God and others want to give me.
  • Sharing my life in prayer with God and the prayers of others for me.
  • An awareness of God’s presence in my day-to-day moments.
  • Friends I associate with who tell me the truth and reinforce the good in me.
  • Spending time listening to beautiful music inspired by God, being in nature or reading a good book about God.
  • Being sensitive to and responding to the subtle nudges of God.
  • Great devotionals from the likes of Oswald Chambers, Jesus Calling and Charles Spurgeon.
  • When these things are not present in my life my heart begins to die…to wither – just like that plant.

What’s left are weeds and a skeleton of my former self…the me that was intended by God.
The following passage of scripture told by Jesus (Luke 8:5-8) reminds us that the soil of our heart’s should to be soft so that his “seed” of love and truth can sink in deep, take root and flourish.

“A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell along the path and was trampled underfoot, and the birds of the air devoured it. And some fell on the rock, and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up with it and choked it. And some fell into good soil and grew and yielded a hundredfold.” As he said these things, he called out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

Let’s pray today that our hearts are like soft soil. That we may, with God as our guide, yield a harvest in our lives of 100 fold! That the things that act at thieves of the truth – rocks, hard paths and thorns – would be thrown out and put aside and that we would receive the life and love He intends for us.

Bill Stark is a Greenville, Mississippi native who graduated from Ole Miss in 1983 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Bill married his college sweetheart, Starwyn Strickland, of Brazil, Mississippi, and they have three children, including twins Mary Catherine and Ellen and son Will. He currently resides in Alpharetta, Georgia. Email Bill Stark at bill.stark@cloudwalk.org

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