I first came across Pastor Paul David Tripp while watching the summer sermon series from Mars Hill Church this past summer and found him really refreshing. His theological perspective is interesting and creative. In an exert from his blog, he shared wisdom on relationships I believe is useful to Believers and non-believers alike:
“Every day you harvest relational plants that have come from the seeds of words and actions that you previously planted. And every day you plant seeds of words and actions that you will later harvest.
Most of the seeds you plant will be small, but one thousand small seeds that grow up into trees will result in an environment-changing forest. Your relationships are continuously planted with little-moment seeds of words and actions which grow into the forest of either love or trouble.
Paul David Tripp”
I desire for those reading to understand that his use of the word environment is not relational to the “planet” but to relationships and the environments we create within them, by our choices and what we sow into them. Regardless of whether it’s a 5 minute, 1-hour or life-long conversation; our responsibility is to impart the love, grace and mercy of God into others. It should both precede and be left lingering behind us, as an example of Christ residing and working in and through us. He LOVED the world, yet, was honest and sometimes abrupt when something wasn’t right in his eyes, so using discernment also provokes healthy environments.
Even in our worst moments we should want and be able to provide encouragement to others (and gain it for ourselves) by leaning on the Lord in joy and faith. When that vision is implanted in others – of where our strength comes from and what we look like outwardly while walking through the shadows – this too is a seed planted in the minds of others and one they are not likely to forget. Don’t be tempted to be another way, to wither up or walk away!
No matter what remember to make a choice to plant seeds to produce good fruit and be as the tree that always produces even through drought:
“Blessed is the man who trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when the heat comes, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of the drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” (Jeremiah 17:7-10)
As Paul Tripp states in his post there is “…consistency between the seeds of words and actions that you plant in your relationships and the quality of harvest that you will experience later as you live and relate to one another.” He states, “YOU MUST LIVE IN YOUR RELATIONSHIPS WITH A HARVEST MENTALITY” and it is so true. We set the environment of each and every relationship we are in or desire to be in, by our choice of words and actions, so do your best to breathe life into them all.