8 Min Read

The Way Up

Published on

January 29, 2024

Mr. Thompson was looking to plant a yard full of aesthetically pleasing trees. Excited about this new plan, he went to get seeds, dug the ground, and planted them. He was told by the horticulturist that in three months, he would start to see the plants sprout. However, every fifth day, anxious about whether or not the seeds were ‘viable’, he would go dig up the seeds. After assuring himself that the seeds were safe, he would retire them back into the soil again. He repeated this process for two months. Then one day, he met his horticulturist in a mall, and during their little chitchat, the horticulturist asked about his planting project. He excitedly expressed his satisfaction about the progress and especially emphasised his ‘innovative’ best practice of checking on the seeds. He ended by saying he is excited about the prospect of seeing the sprout of a plant in the next month. As he explained, the eyes of the horticulturist popped wider, and when Mr. Thompson rested his thought, the horticulturist replied, “Sorry to be a kill joy, Mr. Thompson, but if you continue with your best practice, you’ll never see that plant sprout.” Of course, needless to say, Mr. Thompson had to find a way to comfort himself that his precious seedlings were doing okay in a way that didn’t involve a hoe or a shovel.

The psalmist in Psalms 92:12, eulogising the righteous man, described him as the man that flourishes like a palm tree and grows like a cedar in Lebanon. In verse 13, we see a deeper perspective to that praise, he said that flourishing is only conditional and dependent on another process: planting. He that is planted in the house of the Lord, shall flourish in the courts of God (Psalms 92:13).

We see the unique choice of words in both phrases. Planting in houses, flourishing in courts. A house is more intimate, and a court is more open. This tells me that our secret habits, inclinations, and routines spur, delay, or decimate our progress.

Jesus grants us more perspective into what it means to be planted by saying, except a corn of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it abides alone, but if it dies, then it bears much fruit (John 12:24). Planting may seem to be a fancy and cute word, but Jesus explains it more elaborately and perhaps grimly in saying that except we are willing to fall to the ground and die, then, much like Mr. Thompson’s precious seedlings, there’s no hope for fruit. Establishment is a necessary prerequisite for flourishing.

When we see a man flourishing so well, it should tell us the extent to which he has willingly allowed himself fall down and taste death. Depth is the cost you pay for the prize of height, and you don’t show up in the court if you are not willing to be planted.

One of the lessons we learn about planting is that planting cannot be forced, you have to be willing to yield yourself to the process of being established. It’s a personal and individual decision, as communicated in the tone of Jesus’s teaching. The lease of fruitful life activated by planting only comes through the pathway of wilful desire.

The second is that establishment requires effort and intentionality in the little things. The plant is stuck in the soil, receiving the same sun, water, and nutrients every day. It won’t see the beautiful rays of the sun for another X weeks, or perhaps years, or watch people passing by gazing at its beauty. But the plant stays in, endures, and enjoys that routine daily because there’s a hope set before it. It is flourishing. Your life of progress should not just be filled with colourful varieties but also some non-negotiable routines.

The third ingredient for establishment is patient commitment. You have to give in and trust the process. You must have staying power and the ability to continue so doing until your profiting appears to all. Sometimes your roots will break out and reach for deeper earth, and that process can be painful, but there’s a joy before you. It’s for your flourishing.

The fourth ingredient is appreciating your unique journey. Some plants stay years in the ground and then sprout so high within a short span. Others shoot out first while continuing to reach further down for depth. Don’t use yourself as a benchmark for another’s growth and progress, and vice versa. Our benchmark is Christ, and in each of us, He receives His glory in different colours. When we look at a brother or sister growing and flourishing, we must only draw inspiration and strength from them to apply to our own unique journey.

The last ingredient is a realistic expectation of growth. Most people bulk out of a growth process because they have an unrealistic expectation. You want to read 20 books in 1 month and you are not on leave, dey play. Unrealistic and unfounded expectations lead to discouragement. You should set realistic expectations of progress and then acknowledge and celebrate those milestones if you must.

Oh, you might say, but there are those who flourish without being grounded and established, we know them. They parade their lives before us and the shortcuts they have taken to get to the top. To that I say, there’s a difference between a Cedar of Lebanon and a nameless weed. Sturdiness and timeless flourishing is what differentiates both. It may spring up, but if doesn’t have earth, i.e., it’s not established, then withering away is a guaranteed, not a probable outcome.

The way to go all the way up is to be willing to go all the way down, and I pray that God grants you to be fully established and settled in His manifold grace, and your profiting appears to all.

Amen and amen.

Have an amazing week

For His Glory and Renown,

Olayinka Adebayo


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