Green Thumbs Have I None…

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings:
Numbers 5-6; Mark 4:1-20

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Jesus began to teach beside the lake again. Such a large crowd gathered that he climbed into a boat there on the lake. He sat in the boat while the whole crowd was nearby on the shore. He said many things to them in parables. While teaching them, he said, “Listen to this! A farmer went out to scatter seed. As he was scattering seed, some fell on the path; and the birds came and ate it. Other seed fell on rocky ground where the soil was shallow. They sprouted immediately because the soil wasn’t deep. When the sun came up, it scorched the plants; and they dried up because they had no roots. Other seed fell among thorny plants. The thorny plants grew and choked the seeds, and they produced nothing. Other seed fell into good soil and bore fruit. Upon growing and increasing, the seed produced in one case a yield of thirty to one, in another case a yield of sixty to one, and in another case a yield of one hundred to one.” He said, “Whoever has ears to listen should pay attention!”

There used to be a Boy Scout camp outside of San Marcos Texas. It was called El Rancho Cima. When I was a kid I went there many times. Some of the patches and pictures of the place had a lone hill with a single tree on top of the hill. They used those pictures for advertising. The hill is called “Sentinel Peak.” Some years back, the tree died.

They had all their advertising built around those pictures of the peak with the single tree on top. Now they had a peak with a dead tree on top. They decided to remove the dead tree and plant a new one. That might have been a good thing to do if the peak were made of all dirt, but the Texas Hill Country has a lot of rock, limestone. It isn’t really something very easy to dig through. I don’t know if they were ever successful in planting the tree and the Scouts don’t own the camp anymore.

What I do know is, I would never have tried to plant a new tree there at all. I am far from being a botanist and I have no green thumbs. I do know enough about trying to grow plants in different types of soil to know what Jesus is talking about. It is a great deal easier to get a tree to grow in the black dirt of the Texas Gulf coast or in the red dirt of the East Texas piney woods than it would be to get the same tree (any kind of tree) to grow on the granite of Enchanted Rock. The first is fertile soil that water can easily penetrate. The other, well granite is not going to absorb much water and the tree is going to have a much more difficulty time.

 

The tree probably isn’t going to have a great deal of success having its roots penetrate the rock. It may penetrate a crack in the rock but it is looking for soil easier to penetrate. The roots may look spread out on the ground, growing out and trying to find soil. There just isn’t much in the granite of use to the tree.

We all go through difficult times in life, the hard times that leave us wanting for something more. Look for the good dirt. The good dirt is where we will find the nourishment and the water we need to see us through. It isn’t always easy to find that dirt but just as God can get a tree to grow on rock, God can get us through the rocky times in our lives. We might even grow on the rock and we are much stronger and more prepared when we make it to fertile soil.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Keith

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Author:

Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

One thought on “Green Thumbs Have I None…

  1. I have two young men in my life, I would hope a 20 and 22 year old might keep this in the back of their minds as they forge through, trying to make a place in this life. Well said and appreciated.

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