Object Lesson: Patient Planting

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When spring is in the air and new life blooms, lessons and illustrations involving plants can be especially relevant. This example reminds children that we often have to be patient and wait for things…whether we are preparing a garden, praying for a desire, or witnessing to others, life takes time and perseverance.
Do a little frustrated planting for students…display a flower and hold an empty flower pot. Explain that you’d like to grow some plants…what might we need to do that? Field suggestions if kids know about plants (they need sunlight, water, soil…). Show them how you “plant” something in a cup or small pot…add some soil and seeds, and then wait a few seconds. Act frustrated that nothing is growing. Then pretend to know what you need…water! Add some water, but then express further annoyance at the lack of instant growth. Sunlight maybe? Hold the plant up to a window for a few seconds…what is missing?
Older students might understand immediately that plants take time to grow. We have to consistently take care of them with water and sunlight, and then wait patiently to see results. In the same way, when we improve our faith, it sometimes takes awhile to see genuine results. We want God to work on us right away and do amazing things, but we have to continue with prayer and Bible reading, and wait for the results to show up.
Similarly, we want others to know God, and we tell them about Him. But that also doesn’t always come to fruition instantly. We might plant a seed for someone else to water, and still wait on God to complete the work.
So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 8 The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. 9 For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building. -1 Corinthians 3:7-9
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. -Philippians 2:12
So let God do the hard work…work faithfully and trust in Him. Be patient and keep watering, and the fruit will grow!

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