One of the good things that has come out of this national lock-down due to the viral pandemic, is that many have resumed old activities that they had abandoned, such as gardening, running, baking, etc. Has anyone been lucky to find baker’s yeast at the stores? I used to spend a fair amount of time in my backyard, but I stopped that habit a few years back due to all the rush and the demands of the daily grind. In the last couple of weeks I have started tending to my back yard again by planting flowers in the pots and veggies in the raised garden bed. It feels good to get back to the pure and basic simplicities of life.
As I was planting cherry tomatoes, peppers, and sweet mint, the parable of the sower came to mind, specially the part where Jesus explained the meaning of the parable to his disciples. In Luke 8:11-15 we read: “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away. And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.”
As I reflected on these verses, my mind rested on the last two parts, specially the part about bearing fruit with patience. I couldn’t help question whether with all the rush of our daily life (the cares and riches and pleasures of life) that our spiritual growth may be getting choked. Are we so busy with the demands of life that we have no time to study the Word and spend time in prayer? Are we so self-absorbed with our own problems and challenges that we have no room left to care for others? Are we so eager to grab life by the horns that we have neglected to cultivate a spirit of giving?
Let me challenge you my brothers and sisters: as God and government have imposed on us a mandatory rest from our daily grind, let us use this suddenly-found spare time in not just growing veggies in our back yards, but in cultivating Godly hearts and characters that bear fruit with patience. Let us use this time to read the Word and pray for our fellow believers and for our stricken world; let us nourish the soil into which the Sprit of God planted His seeds of salvation; and let us start building Godly habits that we would continue to practice even when life returns to its normalcy, “being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Phil. 1:6.
May the resurrected Christ bless you,
—Elder Apo Panossian