During my devotional time recently, I found myself in Luke 13 where Jesus told the story about the barren fig tree. The tree had remained fruitless for three years and the owner was ready to chop it down. The gardener who cared for the tree talked him into waiting for a year before getting rid of it. The gardener promised to put manure around the tree. We all know what the purpose of that was - to fertilize the tree and make it grow.
I grew up in Kansas and would sometimes go with my dad to his brother's farm. One time while I was there, I wasn't looking where I stepped and - you guessed it - planted my foot in a recently placed deposit left by one of my uncle's cows. It was a mess! And the smell was horrible!
Manure is nasty. It stinks. And when you consider where it comes from, it's no wonder that we don't want to have anything to do with it. And yet, it can help trees and plants to grow.
I have been leading a book study with a group of ladies on Monday evenings. We recently discussed how God does not want or intend for us to remain stagnant. He wants us to grow - to develop into the people He desires us to be. In order to grow, we have to be fertilized.
Sometimes it seems that we have bag after bag of manure dumped upon us. We have to deal with complicated relationships, financial struggles, health issues - the list can go on and on. We are being fertilized when this happens. It's not very pleasant to have it dumped on us but the end result will be a bigger, stronger plant - or person, rather.
You might have seen the bumper sticker that has been around for years. I won't quote it exactly but is says something to the effect that poop happens. And we all know it does. And it happens to all of us. Choose to view it as fertilizer rather than a disgusting substance. And know that God, the master gardener, is helping you to grow stronger!