Welcome and thanks for participating in day 7 of the ARISE fast and devotional blog. If you haven’t read the previous days, please go back and read them before reading todays as these thoughts will build off of one another.
Day 7: Environmentalists
Remember that children, marriages, and flower gardens reflect the kind of care they get. – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
I’ve never had much of a “green thumb.” Over the years I’ve tried to plant a garden and raise some homemade vegetable only to have them get dug up by our dog or another animal. I once planted both an orange tree and a lemon tree in my back yard – I had visions of fresh squeezed orange juice with breakfast and lemonade with lunch… nope! Neither lived long enough to produce any fruit worth mentioning. Even the flowers I’ve planted rarely last through the next season. This is especially funny since I once owned a successful lawn business… I guess cutting lawns is different than growing vegetables. So now I am quite content to by my oranges, lemons and veggies at the store.
While I can’t grow tomatoes to save my life, I do know something about growing people. Over the years I have assisted many people in their spiritual growth, watching a few become pastors, missionaries or ministers, and many more become great fathers and mothers who love Jesus and lead with Him first.
I think the “secret” to growing anything – people or squash – is creating the right environment for success. In the harsh winters of Alaska, even the best farmer will have a hard time growing strawberries to sell at Plant City’s upcoming festival. And Plant City’s best strawberry farmer would struggle to grow the great coffee beans that flourish at the high elevations of Colombia like Juan Valdez does.
In a sense, we are all environmentalists – we create environments.
There are environments for producing successful children, successful friendships, successful marriages, and successful gardens. A wise person knows they must start with the right environment to end with success. Think about it…isn’t that why we decorate our baby’s room even before we bring them home from the hospital? We want them to have an environment that they can excel in from day one.
All churches create environments. Some are stuffy and religious, some are hipster and trendy, and some are friendly and welcoming. But make no mistake, every church is a greenhouse producing something… hopefully life.
All humans create environments… whether you intend to or not. Some people create an environment that is angry and tense, and people “walk on eggshells”, while others create an environment of elitism and superiority that makes everyone else feel less than them.
But then there are some people who create environments that are perfect for creating new life. Salty people… people who, like salt, make you thirsty for more. The reason you can’t eat just one chip is not the chip… it’s the salt.
These people are a greenhouse full of faith, hope and love. And in this environment, new life flourishes! Prayer, worship and the Word flow from these people and become the soil that allows the faith of others to grow and blossom.
I hope that this is the environment you experience on Sunday mornings at church. But more so, I hope this is the environment you create through every area of your life.
When you live surrendered to God, and He has control of your whole life, not just a slice of it, then you can bring the richly spirit filled environment of Sunday mornings into your office on Monday mornings… and into your home on Tuesday evenings… and into the board room on Friday afternoons… and onto the ballfield on Saturday mornings…
We are all environmentalists. And all environments produce life and growth of something… whether mold or magnolias, maggots or mangos.
If the fruit of your life is not faith, hope and love, then it may be time to begin cultivating a new lifestyle and consequently a new environment.
Join the Movement by cultivating the environment of God’s presence wherever you are.
Esse Quam Videri,
Meditate and reflect on this verse and questions:
And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 1 John 4:16
1. Who do you know that is a great “spiritual environmentalist”? What stands out about their life?
2. What environments do you think Jesus created? Imagine – what would it have been like in the presence of the earthly Jesus?
3. What can you do this week to become a better “spiritual environmentalist?”
– Pray that God gives you the grace to be a carrier of His presence at all times and on every occasion.
– Pray that you have the privilege of assisting in the birth and nourishment of new spiritual life.
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