Planting Through the Tears


Planting with tears

Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy, They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest. Psalm 126:5-6

Just recently, we planted our garden for this year. A day before, I had pulled a muscle in my back. Running the tiller, working the garden hoe, lining off my rows, planting the seeds all put my sore back through more abuse. I wasn’t in tears but I came close a few times when the tiller would jerk or bending over the wrong way made me flinch.

Amanda Baublet wrote a great commentary infusing a commentary of John Piper’s in her blog on this very scripture. In a nutshell, she shares Piper’s thoughts that no matter what we are going through, even when the tears are falling we still need to press on. I agree. However, I would like to add a differing commentary. Not one that is polemical but one from a different perspective.

As Carrie and I set out to plant Village Church, we knew we wanted to “plant” something different, especially for this community. A house church or a community of believers meeting in someone’s house to worship, connect and serve is very different from the churches that normally meet in this area. We knew that we wanted to keep it simple and focus heavily on the difference being made in who the person becomes rather than what the person does. Heart transformation rather than trading information is key to what drives our mission at Village Church. We’re not so concerned with numerical growth as we are spiritual growth. Numbers are important but a wide and shallow lake serves no purpose when a narrow and deep river has power.

In order to commit to this form of church, we knew that we would have to make some changes in our ways of reaching people. We don’t advertise because we want folks to be relational. We don’t put a sign out front because we want our folks to be invitational. We pray about who God is leading us to and speak only to those and the rest simply do not get invited. Not that they aren’t welcome if they find out about us and want to come. We are intentional and laser-focused. In doing so, we are small and slow in our start.

Each day, I wake up and ask God to lead me to those who He wants at our church. I also ask Him to help me disciple in the throes of life rather than in a church service. I want my whole life to be Christian rather than Sunday morning. I want to read my bible with others where I work or play and not just at church. I want to reach folks and make a difference in every place rather than a church setting.

Do you know how hard this is? It means I don’t compartmentalize. I structure my whole life to revolve around the gospel and its truths. Therefore no matter where I am at or what I am doing I am able to preach and teach and share Jesus. And you know what? Tears are involved.

When folks are going though a hard life, they hear about someone who loves them by someone who is showing love for them and tears begin. Sometimes, folks won’t listen and tears follow the hard conversations. I get ridiculed, left alone, made fun of, looked at weird, called preacher (in a derogatory kind of way), and laughed at because I choose to follow Jesus. Tears flow.

Other times, I get called on because I have hope, faith, and love. I have answers (supposedly). I know how to reach  out to a God that they need a connection with. I have a moral authority and structure that guides my life and makes me look stable. I look like I have it all together when really all I have is joy in the One who holds it all together. And when they come to me to “ask me a question,” tears flow.

Tears. The garden of life is watered with tears. Joyful tears. Sorrowful tears. Tears none the less.

But soon (not soon enough), the harvest will come with shouts of joy. The harvest will be heard with singing. The harvest will be worth it because there will be no more tears.The work done through tears will be wiped away and joy will come and the singing will be loud and nobody will care if it’s in tune. I don’t know what the harvest will bring but I do know that as I plant and water, God will bring growth and when harvest day comes, I will be shouting with acclimation that God is good and the harvest is plentiful.

So, whatever you may be going through as you plant, tears may be a part of it and that’s ok. Let them tears fall. But know this, as they fall, one day joy will wipe them away because the harvest day has come.

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About Kevin Riner
child of grace, worshiper of Jesus, husband, father, Pastor of Village Church, author of Faith Debugged

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