Proliferating Basil

Basil anyone? Ok, so a few weeks ago, I was going to plant a little bit of basil in a planter on my back porch. When I gently shook the seed pouch, the seeds were stuck in the bottom so I gave it a hard shake, and before I knew what was happening, the entire packet poured out.

I didn’t think they’d all grow – but before long I had a pot full of baby basil plants. I knew I had to get rid of some of them so I transplanted a few of the seedlings into pots, and I was able to give away fifteen, but, as you can see, I’m still swimming in basil. That’s what you get when you plant basil seeds in good fertile soil, on a sunny porch, and you throw on a bit of water.

It is true that what we sow, so also shall we reap. Every farmer knows this, and every person who has ever put a seed in the ground knows this. I didn’t expect oregano or tomatoes to grow in the pot. I expected basil – not as much as I got – but I knew it would be basil.

When I listen to the radio or television these days, whether the news, talk shows, or even comedians or movies, it is clear that there are a lot of unhealthy seeds being sown because we are reaping a lot of unhealthy fruit. Our society is swimming in intolerance, anger, distrust, bigotry, disdain, contempt, and outright hate.

The seeds of negativity were surely sown in perfectly fertilized soil and watered well, because the crop of discontent is flourishing.  Everywhere I look I see the fruit of disaccord. It is impossible to dodge it, especially when it is hurled toward me.

Things have gotten so bad, that it is no longer possible to share one’s opinion, let alone facts, without fear of getting chastised by people who disagree with you. We seem to have forgotten how to have a discourse on any topic with anyone who sees things from a different perspective.

Why must we shout down other people, or be shouted down, just because we disagree? Does disagreeing make one evil? Wicked? Despicable? A threat? Or a challenge? No. It just makes one different, and different is not bad. If we were all the same, and all believed exactly alike, we wouldn’t accomplish much, because it is in the coming together of opinions through compromise that we move forward.

In what arenas are we moving forward? When everyone has dug in their heels on whatever topic is trending (immigration, guns, mental health, budgets, collusion – you name it) and spends so much time yelling at the other side than they do about proposing successful plans, not much gets accomplished. Without listening, there can be no compromise.

Has anyone ever changed their stance on a position because someone yelled at them, called them names, or disparaged their motive or character? I think not. So what are we trying to do? Seriously? What is the goal? If the goal is not to find solutions, then what is it? Why are we yelling? What are we reaping? What was planted? Who planted it?

Back to my basil. I planted it. I grew it. And, then I passed it on to my neighbors (I have more if you want it!). But, they had to take it for it to be theirs. They had to continue to water it. It would die if they didn’t nurture it. Eventually, they’ll eat it and it will become a part of them.

Whose plants of bitterness, wickedness, antipathy, rancor, and hostility have you taken into your heart? Are you nurturing them? Are you eating them? Are you vomiting them out in your words? In your recent social media posts?

Perhaps it’s time for all of us to do a heart check: Have I been spreading seeds of hatred and vitriol? Have I sown bitterness? Is there hostility in my garden? The only way to know is to ask God to search our hearts, test us, test our thoughts, and show us if there is any offensive way in us; and if there is, then we must ask him to please lead us out of it. (Psalm 139:23-24).

Are you angry? What are you planting? What are you expecting to reap? Are you frustrated? What are you planting? What are you expecting to reap?

Perhaps it is time to heed the call to to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires (James 1:19-21). We must choose to get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  Choosing instead to be kind and compassionate to one another (Ephesians 4:31-32).

Could it be that more people would listen if we were not so quick to criticize, challenge, chastise, or condemn them? Could it be that we might have civil conversation again? And then, if we aren’t bent on being right, we might actually do something right?

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature (Galatians 6:7-8). All those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness (James 3:18).

What are you sowing? What are you reaping?___________________________
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 365 Days of Grace — is currently available on any of the following links:
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