A man teaching a small boy to tend a garden.

Seeds of Faith: Nurturing Belief in the Garden of Life

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As a young man, I grew up tending to the gardens of my uncle. I did not enjoy this work, and often had unsavoury thoughts about being forced to do the work. I wanted to go out and ride my bike or do the things that other children my age sought to do. I did not see the value in my labors.

My uncle was not the most patient man and often struggled to be the father figure I so desperately needed, but he did teach me about the garden. Every fall, we would take some of what we had planted, and collect the seed from the vegetable. We would store these seeds in a freezer for the coming season, and in the spring we would plant these seeds.

Some of the seeds would come to life and grow roots. Others would never sprout, and their trays would remain void of life. Usually, within a short time of planting our seeds, we would know which seeds were good and which were not.

Our faith is like these seeds, and in the beginning, it is hard to know what beliefs are good and which are bad. Like the seeds, when we plant them, and give them the requisite time, the good seeds sprout, and beauty pours forth.

You, like so many others, may wonder, “If God is really there, why does he not show himself?”. Perhaps you’ve thought that if he would just give you a sign, then you would believe.

In the Gospel of John, and the twentieth chapter, verse 29 tells us that it is better for those who can believe without having proof.

Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

John 20 : 29

There are three reasons that we should consider for this statement.

Strength In The Process

When we are provided with a truth, we often do not fully comprehend its significance. Imagine if, as a child, you are taught that the word CAT is spelled C-A-T. With enough repetition, you can learn this truth, but how has the truth helped you? Do you understand why CAT is spelled C-A-T? Do you know the sounds that each letter produces in the word?

No, and without this knowledge, you are unable to build any other words. So it is with the Gospel. If we simply knew that God was God, and we failed to learn the truths of the Gospel, we would fail to grasp their significance. Sure, we should have an understanding of who God is, but the truth of the principles of the gospel would be lost upon us. The safety of paying a full tithe would still not have been experienced, nor would we have learned the value of exercising faith in any manner.

The lack of knowledge forces us to test the principles of the gospel for ourselves. We learn to commune with the almighty out of an earnest desire to know him better, and as we practice, it becomes habitual. It strengthens our ability to hear his words and be directed daily. No such strength comes from being handed a perfect knowledge of Christ.

Alma teaches us this principle in Alma Chapter Thirty-Two, verses Seventeen through Eighteen. He tells us that there is no belief or faith in knowing. We must start from a place of not knowing to grow a true faith.

Danger in Knowing

Alma then goes on to teach us the dangers of having perfect knowledge. In verse 19, he warns us that we are more cursed when we know the will of god, and then transgress in that perfect knowledge.

As Latter-day Saints, we believe that there is only one sin that is not forgiven. That sin is having a perfect knowledge of Christ or Heavenly Father and then denying that knowledge. Being able to commit this sin is a rare instance. Saul believed that he was doing what was right when he was persecuting the Christians. When Jesus appeared to him, he was given a perfect knowledge of the divinity of Christ, and he was no longer willing to deny what he now knew to be true.

Several early leaders of the church that left refused to recant their belief that the church was true, because they had received witnesses that they could not deny, and they understood the consequences of denying what they knew to be true.

If we were granted this knowledge without having obtained the faith to remain true to God, we would be at great risk of transgressing in a way that we could not have overcome.

Judas most likley did not have a full understanding of who Christ was. He was a man of deep faith, and he choose to follow Christ because he believed he would be the Messiah that all the Jews had been expecting. When Christ did not do what Judas had expected, he lost faith, and that led him to betray the saviour. Even after having done this, I believe that the Savoiur probably mourned his loss, and ministered to him three days later on the other side of the viel. He loves us all, even when we transgress or sin.

Interesting Thought

Nurturing Faith

Returning to my childhood story, I want to point out that we did not plant the seeds and then leave them to grow on their own. If we had, I am without doubt that not a single seed would have sprouted. Those plants, in their trays, required nourishment to grow. They needed to be placed in sunlight and given water and nutrients.

Even after we moved them from trays into the garden, we had to continue to tend to them. This meant removing weeds that would sprout up, and try to choke them. It also meant continuing to ensure that the garden had ample water to support the plant’s growth.

So, we must be vigilant in tending the garden of our beliefs. Faith without works is dead, and if we fail to do the work to nourish our faith, then, like the plants of my childhood garden, our beliefs will die. We must continually grow our faith by studying His Gospel and living its truths. We should sprinkle thee everlasting water onto the seeds of our faith with a generous helping of daily prayer, seeking to know the Lord’s will for us in our life.

In the beginning, living the gospel can seem like a chore, something that takes up precious time that we would rather spend riding our bikes, or engaging with friends. But, as we endeavor to do the things that we are commanded, and exercise faith in our beliefs, our garden will grow. The summer will pass into harvest, and we shall see the fruits of our labors. Then shall we know the truth of these things?

I admonish you to build faith in our Heavenly Father, his Son, and the guiding voice of the Holy Spirit. I admonish you to nourish that faith by studying the scriptures daily and praying with your Father in heaven. When you do these things, you, too, will come to enjoy the harvest of your wonderful garden.

I am thankful for an uncle who taught me to nourish my garden, and for Alma who taught us to all nourish our faith. In the sacred name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

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