We moved at the beginning of this year. A new-build home on the other side of the neighborhood. It looked fantastic on the impressions. Trees, grass, flowers. A beautiful street. However, the reality is not so idyllic. We have now lived there for almost ten months, but instead of beautifully planted greenery, so far there has been a lot of weeds to admire. Except for one corner in the street. There are some beautiful bloomers there. We and our neighbors regularly enjoy it. And that thanks to a good idea from a nine-year-old girl…
I have no idea where they all came from, but in the spring we all had bags of flower seeds at home. Now I’m not much of a gardener, but this time I thought; let’s do something with it. So I filled a few pots with soil and seeds and put them in the garden. Together with the children I looked forward to what would emerge. My daughter Linn had a (in my opinion) less good idea for the last bag left; “Mom, we’ll put it in the ground next to the parking lot, it’s still so bare here.” I tried to discourage her because I wanted to spare her disappointment. “They will soon plant all kinds of things there, then the seeds will be lost.” But she stood her ground. “We can try anyway!” So no sooner said than done.
Weeks passed and the weeds began to grow rampant. The pots of seeds in the garden ended up in the bin. Despite my best concerns. We had long forgotten the carefully scattered seeds outside the garden. Summer came and we spent two warm weeks with our southern neighbors. However, a pleasant surprise awaited us upon our return. Because on the corner of the parking lot we found a colorful mixture of flowers, including two powerful sunflowers still in bud. When the weeds were mowed a week later, I quickly took a photo of them, because I expected that the flowers would also be removed. To my surprise and to Linn’s delight, the gardener neatly mowed around the flower corner and it remained standing proudly.
Commit to the flourishing of the city
The seeds sown by Linn reminded me of Jeremiah 29:7 ‘ Pray for the city, work for its prosperity, for the prosperity of the city is also your prosperity.’ One of the texts that motivates us to commit ourselves to the place where we live. The activities we do are actually also seeds that we scatter. Sometimes we get discouraged. Then people wonder what the long-term result is, whether we see ‘fruit’ in our work. But in recent years we have seen many flower corners emerge, usually unexpectedly. Places of meeting, of friendship, of fun, of searching for meaning, of looking out for each other. Kingdom in our neighborhood!
It is fair to say that despite our efforts, quite a few things have failed. Carefully developed activities that we were ultimately able to deposit, just like the seeds from our garden, in a figurative wheelie bin. But would the flower corners have emerged without these failed attempts? Or is our commitment necessary so that God can surprise us with blossoming where we had already forgotten our seeds?
Marry in small ways
Many Christians find evangelism difficult. Not everyone is an evangelist, we say. And to be honest, I also find it quite exciting to talk about my faith. But do you know what you and I can do? Sprinkle seeds. Anyone can share what you have received wherever they live. Does it have to be big? No. Being faithful in the little things is what God asks of you.
Do you also long to make God’s Kingdom visible in your street, in your neighborhood? Do you have no idea how to start? Then sign up for the #kingdominjewijk challenge. We are happy to help you in small steps, so that you too can be surprised by beautiful flower corners. And who knows, maybe beautiful sunflowers will soon bloom in your street, just like ours.