By Holly Culhane
I was intrigued when I gazed over our deck to the three oak half-barrels that hold the lilies planted by our home’s previous owner. In the four years we’ve occupied this beautifully wooded spot, I’ve learned to watch for the reactions these plants have as spring approaches. It was mid-March and as usual, the green shoots were just beginning to peek through the dirt. Only a week or so later, I noticed they were doing what they do best this time of year – shooting up like a ten-year-old in a growth spurt. Now, two to six inches high, they were on their way to sprouting blooms that would birth an intricate flower with color that most definitely stands out in our little forest.
Toward the end of March, though, a detail that had not really caught my attention in previous years until the time of bloom, now caused me to pause – the subtle difference in the growth between these plants. The lily closest to our deck was sprouting green shoots nearly 12 inches tall. The lily just to the north was slightly behind, with shoots of approximately 10 inches, and the shoots in the last barrel, the furthest from the deck was far behind, at only 6 inches in height.
I know it seems obvious to a horticulturalist or a gifted gardener, but for someone like me – a fast-paced get ‘er done sort of woman with a brown thumb – it took me a moment.
As I glanced upward, it became obvious. The sun. The furthest barrel was partially blocked by the nearby oak and pine trees, also sheltering it from some of the rain we receive, while the middle barrel was less obstructed. And the barrel closest to the deck was in full sun most of the day with no impediment from moisture.
Exposure to the sun. It makes a world of difference to the growth of vegetation.
The analogy wasn’t lost on me. The Son, S-o-n. My exposure to Him makes a world of difference in my depth of faith, my level of trust, and the way I impact and influence others.
The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful
you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 1:8
Just as a plant needs sunlight, the proper temperature, moisture, air, and nutrients to thrive, we need the same as under-shepherds of our Savior. We need the Son, the Light of the World, along with the air He gives us to breath and the nutrients we find in the milk and the meat of His Word, to shepherd well.
Maybe it’s time we all took a bit of a look at how we’re growing this spring. Are you at 12 inches, 10 inches, or six? How would more exposure to His light grow you?