the surprising bean seed

Nov 13, 2004Find joy today

It was a silly moment, really. I stood near our car, which was parked near our trash cans. There, on the ground in front of the can was a seed. It looked like a kidney bean, only more mottled. Bursting forth from it was a tangled hairdo of green. As I waited for Patrick to unlock the car, I spied another “bean,” this one a foot from the other, only it had fully sprouted a green plant, sort of a mini-tree.

It surprised, delighted and vexed me. Surprised because I didn’t expect to see a mini-green tree coming from what I thought was a bean seed. Delighted because it reminded me of God, His creative world. Vexed because I didn’t understand it all, didn’t understand why the bean seed made a tree.

In the quiet of my room today, the Lord reminded me of that funny seed. I am that seed here in France. I thought I knew myself. Thought if God poured French water on me, I’d sprout Jack’s bean stock. Instead a funny tree emerged, gangly and needy. God is in the enterprise of surprise. Perhaps I am here to, like the tree, reach my slender arms to heaven in praise of the One who creates surprises. Perhaps I am here to be. Perhaps I am here to wonder.

And maybe that’s the lesson for us as church planters too. We thought church would look a certain way, sprout a bean stock, but in the fluidity of life, something altogether different is happening. A small tree, surprising in its greenness, is pushing its way out of our hard seed. Jesus Christ wants to build His church everywhere, including here. But He is in the business of creating anew that which is ordinary. Perhaps He is breathing life into a new church model. I don’t know. But I do know He is about life, about infusing life into His children in France.

Another thing funny about the bean seed sprouting trees: it’s needy. I am too. I need Jesus so much my heart rends. I need His constant care, His refreshing water, His breath to breathe. I need to revisit that He is the vinedresser and I am the twirling vine. He is the sustenance and I am the blessed recipient. I am a seed; He is the germinator.

Whatever God does here in France will be in praise of His renown. All of us here are tiny seeds, in need of cultivation, in need of hope. Perhaps God brought my family here (as well as the other families) to teach us His availability, His sufficiency, His power, His holy love. It will be a miracle if a church grows from our seeds.

He is the miracle.

And I am the seed.