During quarantine I have been doing a lot of gardening! Something I have learned is that plants are, generally, not self-sustainable. They need to be taken care of. They need water and sun – and some of them need a specific amount of such (and for the record – yes, I have accidentally over and under watered a few plants along my newly acquired hobby).
In Mark 12, Jesus was approached by the teachers of the law and they asked Him which of all the commandments was the most important. Jesus’ answer was simple and clear: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no greater commandment than these,” – Mark 12:30-31.
I love how Jesus answered this question with more than they had expected. Not only did He respond with one of the most important commandments, but He intentionally responded with two. Jesus made it a point to ensure the wisdom He provided would encourage people not only live a life of love for God, but also for others before themselves.
In Matthew 13, Jesus teaches about the parable of the sower. Jesus went to a lake where He stood in a boat, on the water, to teach people on the shore. In this parable, Jesus told the story of a farmer who went out to plant seed. A few different things happened as he was scattering the seed:
- Some fell along the way where the birds ate it.
- Some fell on rocky places where the plant did not have the ability to grow deep roots.
- Some fell among thorns, which eventually choked the new plants.
- Some other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop – a hundred, sixty, or thirty times what was sown. (Matthew 13:1-9)
Now, I know for a fact that this farmer did not just throw some seed down and watch it grow; there is much more to the farming process than that. This farmer had to intentionally create a good place for the seed to grow and in addition the farmer needed to take care and tend to the crop to ensure it did not die.
I feel like, in a way, we can take this story and use it to analyze how we love our neighbors. When we show love to someone, do we just throw down some seed and wait for it to sprout? Or do we dig, till, and cultivate to ensure the love we sow will be maintained? As you walk through this week ask yourself – where are you planting love and how do you plan to sustain it?
Jesus dedicated His life to love others so much so that He gave His own life for it. Jesus is love. So, when you love your neighbor, whomever it may be, you provide an opportunity for love (Jesus) and kindness to be the foundation and cultivation of that relationship. Then from that one intentional encounter, a domino effect of love has the chance to grow – perhaps a hundred, sixty, or thirty times that which it was sown.
“Let everything you do be done in love.” 1 Corinthians 16:14
Kayleigh D’Abadie is a blog writer and a member of the Manassas campus worship team at The Life Church. She is also a student at George Mason University pursuing her Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. She enjoys crafting, being outside in nature, and is always up for new adventures!
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