By Steff Knabe
Jesus is a Master of teaching in parables. The parable is a cleverly designed short story used to teach a moral or spiritual lesson by similarity or analogy. They are often stories based on the agricultural life which was very familiar to His original audience. Some aspect of an unfamiliar concept, or a spiritual truth, is compared to something from everyday life that is generally easily understood. As we women at Hebron come together this weekend during our in-house retreat, a story comes to mind.
One of my favorite cottage garden flowers is a cosmos. I prefer the tall variety that have small, feathery leaves covering the stem and bright, beautiful, daisy-like flowers that need full sun. They grow from scattered seeds covering a small two-foot area. These annuals need to be planted in a tight cluster to support each other's tall stems. If they are planted alone they fall right over. The vibrant, colorful flowers look to the sky as they reach for the sun. They are drought tolerant and when pruned, or dead-headed, they will bear new flowers throughout the whole growing season. Cosmos flourish from seed when planted in rich, well-watered soil in full sun. Their delicate stems stand tall when leaning on each other. The wispy bright yellow, orange, white, and pink flowers are show-stoppers that draw our attention to the One who created them.
Just as God has a design for Cosmos, He has a design for His church. The church is a people who have been redeemed and transferred from the Kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of the Son, and are striving to move step-by-step towards maturity in Christ. This striving is not intended to take place in isolation. There is a whole crowd of us who are in this together. That is the purpose and intent with our local church gatherings, and also why they are important. Jesus Christ is in the midst of the gathering, speaking His Word; we are there together to worship Christ and to shepherd each other, putting sin to death and clothing ourselves with the character of Christ. We are disciples who desire to make disciples (who make disciples) all through the power of the Holy Spirit. So we fix our eyes on Jesus the Son, and we lean into each other for support; a beautiful plan that fosters growth and freedom to flourish. It is our heart’s desire to stand tall, pointing others to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that which is the power to salvation.
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:24-25
Thanks, Steff, for those words of encouragement! For more encouragement, make sure you check your email for the Hebron Women’s Ministry Newsletter. Please check your spam folder and change your settings to accept emails from JLBalkey@gmail.com so you don’t miss another edition! If you would like to be added to the list, please email me at the email above.