My children love strawberries. I can set a pound in front of them and they are gone in 30 seconds flat. One of my son’s first words was “stah-bees” and the first words he strung together were “more pees” as he lunged for the counter where the bowl of them was sitting.
Mid-summer this year I was elated when a neighbor walked down a bucket with 4 or 5 runners from her strawberry plants. I had them in the ground in minutes. I have zero natural gardening ability so I did a little research on how to have a better chance of getting them to grow. One of the first things I read was that after planting them you have to pinch off all the flowers to prevent the berries from growing the first season. This helps them to establish their roots, becoming a healthier and more fruitful plant in the future.
That first beautiful and tiny little flower popped up and my oldest and I were over the moon with excitement. Explaining that we had to pinch off the bud to help the roots grow and stay healthier and that we’d have to do that to all the flowers the whole summer was incredibly disappointing. We may still have her consolation prize, that first flower, pressed between the pages of a book somewhere.
I can’t see the roots growing. I can’t watch underground to see the actual benefit of cutting away the budding fruit, but the concept of the sacrifice makes sense to me. I believe that in the bigger picture it’s the better thing to do and that our patience will pay off.
Sometimes prioritizing our roots as believers can feel like growing strawberries.
Sometimes we make worldly sacrifices to prioritize the health and growth of our spiritual roots.
Sometimes watering and weeding our faith feels like work.
Sometimes there’s pretty flowers and worldly temptations that we don’t want to cut away, even if they may not be the best thing for our roots.
But healthy and established roots aren’t invisible forever. They are the promise of abundance.
When we prioritize our roots in Christ, we are opening ourselves to a better understanding of the incredible blessing and promises God has worked in us and for us. We are showing Him gratitude and trust when we care for our roots even when we can’t always see the immediate benefit. The possibilities are unfathomable. The promise of heaven is incomprehensible. The daily difference in our hearts is at work, too.
Healthy, cared-for spiritual roots help us to weather the storms and disease of sin in this world and make our calling and election sure.
We may not have harvested any strawberries this year, but it’s been an incredible joy watching the effects of the healthier roots as the plants grow and spread.
Our diligence has been its own kind of joy as we anticipate abundance.
Even if our strawberry crop next year falls short of our expectations, it’s been a wonderful picture of prioritizing the promise.
And even if our strawberries grow beyond our wildest dreams, it will be nothing compared to a moment sitting in our Savior’s presence in our heavenly home.