As a kid, dad and I would plant a wall of sweet peas each year in the springtime. At each house, the wall may have changed a little from a block wall with a trellis to allow the vines to creep upward to a chain link fence spanning the distance of the yard which was eventually obliterated by the lush green vine and colorful flowers. I loved the flowers so much - the scent was awesome, the colors beautifully pastel, and the petals were velvety against my skin. I'd pick a whole bunch of them and run them into mom, so pleased to bring them indoors so they could brighten up those rooms, as well. As the season came to an end, those vines would begin to put off "pea pods". I'd collect all those pods, open them up, empty out the "peas" within, and lay them out to dry on an old piece of screen stretched over a frame of wood. They were the seeds for the next season! One season prepared the way for the enjoyment in the next - all one had to do was be available to capture the seeds!
The seed that flowers into righteousness will always be planted in peace by those who embrace peace. (James 3:18 VOICE)
The seed that flowers into righteousness in our lives doesn't come from some "miracle" seed in a package we find down at the local Bible Book Store. It comes in those moments of making connection with the source of the seed itself! Just as I had to pluck those pods from the vines, opening them carefully to secure the seeds contained within, then carefully preparing those seeds for the next season of growth, so it is in our own lives. We have various times when seed is readily available - ready to be harvested, prepared for the next time of growth in our lives. We often miss those opportunities because we are so focused on the flowers of today's growth we miss the fact the seeds for tomorrow's growth are right there alongside the beauty of today's growth!
Seeds of righteousness are found among the petals of peace. When we embrace the peace of God in our lives, it opens us to receive a steady supply of the seeds of peace we may scatter into the lives of those around us. We need to be attentive to the seed which is there in our lives - the seed which has the potential to bring forth growth far outside of what we could imagine or dream. Each year I planted about 50 seeds or so along the wall. Each year we received hundreds and hundreds of soft pastel sweet pea flowers emanating their sweet fragrance and beautifying our lives. It always amazed me that one tiny pea grew into such a large vine and then provided so much beauty. Then to see all the seeds one seed was able to produce even impacted me, as well. One produced many - the many prepared the way for the next season of growth for not only us, but neighbors down the way, and even a few homes farther away.
Two things I'd like us to see today:
1) The growth in our lives today is not just for our own enjoyment. When God's peace settles into our lives, giving us hope and renewed energy for the day's challenges we have set before us, we are not meant to hoard that peace. Just as those flowers blessed dad and I as they grew along the fence, they were also a blessing to mom and grandma as they were placed in vases and jars throughout the house. The bees knew the richness of their harvest from those pastel blossoms and the birds found shelter in the shade of the vines. Even in death, those plants provided for the growth of the next season - as seeds would be gathered and placed carefully away for the next time of growth, and the vines were turned into the soil to become the food for the many worms and bugs which made our soil lush and fruitful. Growth in our lives begins when God's peace seeds - it continues when we share that peace with others.
2) The seeds provided today always have a time of preparation and planting before they bring the growth of the next season. We somehow want growth to be more instantaneous, but God's plan has always been to sow, tend, and then reap the blessings of that season of preparation. The seed of peace has been planted into each of our lives - as the seed begins to take root and produce the products of righteousness within, the beauty and fragrance of peace is to begin to affect the lives of others - but it doesn't do so without first being a blessing to us! We cannot skip the preparation and planting - they are necessary to the season of growth and beauty we will realize!
We don't receive "peas" as seeds - we receive "peace" as seeds. Let those "peace seeds" take hold, enjoy the beauty of their blossoms and fragrance they produce, but don't forget to reap those next season of "peace seeds" which will be a blessing to many in return! Just sayin!