Determinate or Indeterminate?
We are in thick of gardening season, and I love it! Being out in the garden refreshes my soul and teaches me many spiritual lessons. One of the lessons I’ve been learning this year is the difference between determinate and indeterminate tomatoes.
Determinate tomatoes grow like a bush. Their growth is determined. They will only reach a certain height and maturity, then bear nearly all of their fruit at once.
Indeterminate tomatoes grow like a vine. Their growth is undetermined, meaning that they will keep growing and setting fruit as long as there is a growing season. If you prune them properly, they may grow over 10 feet tall in one season. However, if you don’t prune them properly, they will look like any other determined tomato plant.
These two main types of tomatoes have me thinking about individual Christians and the church body. Are we more like an uncontrolled, determinate tomato whose growth reaches a certain maturity and then stops? Or are we more like an indeterminate tomato plant, who with intentional pruning from the Master Gardener—Jesus—keep growing and maturing and setting fruit as long as we live? Do we continue to excel more and more?
If we are going to be a church that fulfills our vision of deep roots and bearing fruit, we have to grow both as individuals and as a church body.
2 Peter 3:18 says,
“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
Paul praised the Thessalonians for their growing love of the brethren but told them to (1 Thess. 4:9-10),
“excel still more”
To the church at Ephesus, Paul wrote,
“But speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love” (Eph. 4:15-16).
Through the growth of the individual Christian (member/joint), the whole body is built up. That means it's critical for us to decide to grow as individuals and that's not always easy. But in the Christian life, we never reach a level of maturity and stop there. Our growth is indeterminate. God’s will is for us as individuals and as a church is to continually grow in Christlikeness as we study His Word and apply it to our heads, hearts, and hands. That’s one of the reasons why I’m excited about this Care Ministry and the fall ministries starting back up. They challenge us to keep growing as we worship, make disciples, mature in faith, and reach out to our community!
Pray that God would grow our church body and mature it (Col. 2:19; 1 Cor. 3:5-9)!
Pray about how God would have you serve this fall!
Living for Christ with you,
Here are 10 ways to prioritize your marriage:
List from The Art of Parenting Small-Group Series Workbook (Little Rock: Family Life Publishing, 2018), 14-15.
Husbands, here are 25 ways to spiritually lead your family:
List from The Art of Marriage Small-Group Series Workbook (Little Rock: Family Life Publishing, 2012), 40.
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