When I think of us serving together, the analogy of a garden comes to my mind. Like flowers, we each have our own God-given beauty and individual characteristics and gifts. There are many similarities between great flower gardens and the great qualities of a faithful servant.
I absolutely love flowers. When I look at them, I see God’s hand in the beauty of our world. I even like dandelions. Kids love ’em, they can pick all they want, and they always present them as such a wondrous gift. I have a sweet memory of my youngest “helping” me plant flowers. When my back was turned, she “planted” fully bloomed dandelions in a newly turned patch of garden.♥
Let’s look at a few basic components that make great flower gardens and faithful servants:
Fertile Soil in the Bible
Great garden soil needs to be full of nutrients. Plants take up these nutrients which make them healthy, strong, and productive. My father-in-law (my go-to gardening guy) once told me that my own garden’s growing problems were due to “dead dirt.” Each year I now dig in some organic mulch and topsoil to my gardens before planting.
If we are to grow, we need soil that is “alive” and rich in nutrients.
When Jesus tells the parable of the sower (Matthew 13:3-9), he focuses on the soil. Hard, rocky, and thorny soils are not conducive to plant growth.
In Luke’s version of the parable (8:15), “the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.” Now there’s the perfect nutrient our garden soil needs- God’s Word. We also need to “dig in” to God’s Word regularly to enrich our soil.
Streams of Living Water
Those nutrients I spoke of have to get to the plant somehow, and water does the job. It travels back and forth from roots to leaves, nourishing the plant completely. If the plant doesn’t receive enough water, the roots grow weak, the plant gets droopy, and it can’t produce the fruit or flower it should.
Jesus tells us that if we believe in him, “streams of living water will flow from within.”- John 7:38. This living water is never-ending and gives us spiritual renewal and refreshment. Does your stream feel like a mere trickle?
At the beginning of that verse, Jesus says we are to come to him to drink. That’s where our stream can become so full that it overflows. As we are filled, it flows out of us and is given to others.
Jesus is Light
The light from the sun gives plants the energy to make their own food (remember photosynthesis from science class?) Without enough sunlight, the plant becomes weak and spindly and produces fewer flowers/fruit.
What energizes you? Jesus said “I am the light of the world”-John 8:12. He is the energy source for all that is truthful, right and genuine in our lives. Just as physical light gives energy to plants to grow and produce fruit, Jesus’ light gives us what we need to grow as well.
As we take in his light, we have the energy we need to produce fruit in the service to others. We then reflect his light onto others.
Deep Roots in the Bible
Good soil, adequate water, and abundant sunlight are all essential for a beautiful, productive garden. When in harmony, these three things produce roots that go deep into the ground to provide nourishment for the rest of the plant. A deep root anchors the plant firmly.
We too need to be deeply rooted- in Christ. We need to be rich in the nutrients of God’s word, tap into the streams of living water, and turn to Jesus to energize us. Then we too will have deep roots and our garden of service will be bountiful.
Now that you know the basics, how do you picture yourself in the garden? Here’s another garden analogy for you:
When I first started gardening, I was trying to be economical in my plantings. I started seeds of annuals in the late winter and carefully tended them until I could move them outside.
I ordered bags of “mixed bulbs” and was amazed at what grew over the spring and summer.
Perennials are quite expensive, so I would order “grab bags” of whatever full sun plants were available. One assortment contained what appeared to be 3 dead sticks. I planted them as directed, and sure enough! I had the 3 beautiful hibiscus plants they had advertised!
My father-in-law grew the most beautiful hybrid tea roses, and he shared all his knowledge, tips, and tricks with me. They were the one plant I splurged on and bought as a mature plant.
What Kind of Plant are You?
Do you recognize yourself in any of those garden plants? Do you feel like a seedling? Just beginning, needing some extra care in learning to serve before you are planted in the garden?
How about those bulbs? They are full of stored up energy. If they’re not planted, they can’t bloom. Is that you? You have the knowledge, you just need a garden to be planted in. So much potential!
Maybe you’re a mature plant, ready to go. Just needing sunlight and water to bloom.
Or maybe you feel like a dead stick… Not sure you would grow let alone produce a flower or fruit even if someone did plant you…
Rooted and Grounded in Christ
When we put God’s love for us to work in service it can look like the most amazing and beautiful garden ever planted. Each one of us is a thing of beauty brought to life and nourished with his word and love. Planted all together, with all our different colors, heights, blooms, and fragrances, we can be a gorgeous, lush garden that produces much fruit.
The qualities of a faithful servant include letting the Holy Spirit nourish your roots with streams of living water. His Son will give us the energy we need to grow and live in his service.
Be planted in him and his word- no matter what your “plant status”- mature plant, bulb, seed, or dead stick. He wants to use you, refresh you, and help you grow.
“Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him.” Colossians 2:7
12 thoughts on “Qualities of a Faithful Servant”
I love this post so much. I am a gardener and have learned over the year why God uses so many gardening and farming metaphors. They really speak to the state of our souls! Thanks for this.
Thanks Tiffany! Yay! A fellow gardener! I see Him and His ways in so much of nature…
Oh, goodness! I have been almost all of these things at times–a dead stick, a bulb full of energy and potential, and a seedling. I don’t know about the mature and ready to go part. Maybe at times. Thank you for the reminder that no matter where I am, the answer is always Jesus.
Been there too! And it’s amazing He uses us in any of the stages we’re in!
This is beautifully written. I LOVE the analogy of comparing us to plants. This is my favorite part…We too need to be deeply rooted- in Christ. We need to be rich in the nutrients of Gods word, tap into the streams of living water, and turn to Jesus to energize us. Then we too will have deep roots and our garden of service will be bountiful. Great Post!
Thanks Angie! All together we make up a beautiful bouquet!
Oh! I love posts that compare flowers and people lol “What kind of plant are you?” is something to really ponder. Wonderfully written!
I’ve been through a few of these “plant stages” in my life… Grateful for our Master Gardener!
I don’t like to think of myself as matured or arrived, so I will say I’m the bulb with the stored up energy lol. What an incredibly beautiful post. Love this! ❤
Thanks Donna! I’ve been a few of these- the dead stick, the seedling, but I don’t consider myself the mature plant either- by any means! Thankful for the watering and fertilizing that the Holy Spirit does in my life.
Loved the garden analogies!
Thanks, Cindy! (I’m so ready to be out in my gardens!!!!)