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On baptism and being planted


I don’t have a green thumb. I don’t even have a green pinky.

Plants have a picture of me on the wall of their post offices. Why? I kill plants on a regular basis. This is not intentional. I’m just not a very good gardener.

My brother-in-law, on the other hand, is a fantastic gardener. He can actually put tomato seeds in the ground and tomato plants grow that actually produce tomatoes. Can you believe that? I can’t, because when I put seeds in the ground, dirt grows. Nothing happens, and it should. That’s how God designed the process.

Seeds go in, and something—very unseedy—comes out. I know this process occurs trillions of times every second of every day, but it still amazes me.

Put a seed in the ground and, in the hidden realm of worms, dirt, moisture, and darkness, a transformation occurs that unleashes intended potential. God intends for seeds to become plants. That’s what seeds were designed to do. Unplanted seeds are destined to always be . . . seeds. Unplanted seeds will never know the pleasure of sunshine on their leaves. Unplanted seeds will never know the joy of blooming. Unplanted seeds will never experience the pleasure of providing nourishment and pleasure to others. Unplanted seeds will never know the pleasure of being a tulip and the pleasure of being seen as an expression of God’s faithfulness.

Two important things occur when seeds are planted: death and life.

When a seed is planted in the ground a death of identity occurs—while beneath the surface the seed dies to itself and becomes not seed. But, life occurs as a plant pushes up through the dirt reaching for the nourishment of the sun.

For all of these reasons—and for others we may not fully understand with minds familiar only with the modern approach to horticulture—the Apostle Paul compares being baptized to being planted.

In Romans 6:5, Paul, when describing what happens at baptism, uses a word that is only used one time in the Bible and that word means, “Planted.” This is how verse five literally reads, “If we have been planted with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection” (emphasis mine).

At my baptism, in the spring of 1978, I too, was planted.

At your baptism you were planted.

At our baptisms, you and I experienced death and life. When we were beneath the surface, like a seed, we died to ourselves and became new. As we came up out of the water our intended potential was realized. We emerged as new creations, with a new life, and new identity.

I hope you never look at tulips and baptismal services the same way again.

©2015 Arron Chambers


Read more about Eats with Sinners.

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