Earth Day is celebrated this week, and each year, our elementary school celebrates this holiday at the Tucumcari Outdoor Classroom, just north of the school. Last year, I demonstrated some plant growth requirements and since man has similar needs, I converted the presentation into an article.
First, for a seed to become a living plant, it must take up water. The plant also must have water throughout its life to grow and produce more seed (Genesis 1: 11, 122: 4-10; Psalm 65: 9-13; Isaiah 55: 10). Living water comes from God to all who follow his son, Jesus (John 7: 37-39; 10: 14, 27-30; Acts 2: 38, 39; Galatians 3: 26, 27; 4: 6). As plants are part of the water cycle (Ecclesiastes 1: 7; Job 36: 26-28), living water is to flow through Christians into the lives of others causing them to want it to come directly to them from God (John 4: 10-14; Galatians 5: 22, 23). Also, like a seed becoming a plant, to receive the living water and come to life as God’s offspring, we must die to self (1 Corinthians 15: 36-38; John 12: 24, 25; Galatians 5: 24, 25; Romans 6: 3-11; Galatians 2: 20, 21). This is the only way we can truly enjoy life (John 10: 10; 15: 5).
A second requirement for plant growth is in the air we breathe. Plants take up carbon dioxide and release oxygen. Man and animals breathe in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. This is a very intelligent design (Psalm 19: 1, 2; Romans 1: 20). God provides whatever component of the air each organism needs in a usable manner whether the organism lives at high elevations or in the depths of the sea (Acts 17: 24, 25; Genesis 2: 7). When we become Christians, God breathes new life into us by instilling his Spirit in us, which, again, is the only way we can experience the maximum benefit of the abundant life (Romans 8: 9-11).
Plants combine water and carbon dioxide to make simple sugars. To do this, they need other nutrients – plant food – much like man needs a balanced diet for life and growth. Spiritual food is essential for spiritual growth by which the Spirit transforms us back into our original condition in God’s image (Genesis 1: 26, 27; Colossians 3: 1-10). We must be careful what we ingest through our eyes and ears, though, because some things are toxic (Colossians 2: 6-8; 2 Timothy 3: 16, 17; 1 Peter 2: 2, 3; 4: 11; John 1: 1-5; 6: 63; Matthew 7: 24-27).
A third requirement for plant growth is light. While most seeds germinate in the dark (underground), they have just enough stored energy to grow into the light if not planted too deeply. Without proper light, green plants cannot live very long because they need light to make the simple sugars that are used either for energy or growth. Those leaves that don’t receive some sunlight become unproductive and take energy from the rest of the plant. Consequently, the plant discards them to protect itself (John 15: 1-10).
We also need to be in the light to have life (John 8: 12; 12: 44-46). Just like plants that receive sunlight only during the day, we have a short time on earth to take advantage of the light (Matthew 24: 35; Psalm 102: 25-28; Hebrews 9: 28, 29). We’re to make the most of this opportunity reflecting the light onto others for their benefit (John 9: 4, 5; Matthew 5: 14-16). Plants that are deprived of sunlight wither away; people who don’t come into the light face destruction (John 3: 16-21; 1 Thessalonians 5: 4-11; Ephesians 5: 8-17; 1 John 1: 5-9).
Finally, plants need something to hold on to. Their root system keeps them from blowing away in addition to taking up water and nutrients. People also need something to hold on to and give us hope to face daily pressures. We shouldn’t try to hang on to this world or anything in it, though, because it’s not going to last (Matthew 6: 19-21; 2 Peter 3: 3-14; 1 Corinthians 7: 31; Hebrews 11: 13-16). God wants us to know we have the prospect of a bright future spending eternity with him so we can have hope for today (Jeremiah 29: 11; Romans 5: 1-5; 1 Peter 1: 3-9). Without that hope, we’ll cut ourselves off from our source of life and we’ll dry up and blow away like a tumbleweed only to be burned (1 Peter 1: 22-25; Psalm 1: 1-6; Ephesians 4: 11-14; Hebrews 10: 19-25).
Do you want to wither away like a dead plant or do you want to live the abundant, eternal life as a child of God?
Leonard Lauriault, church of Christ