This is the first year in many years that I have not put in a garden. We are in the process of moving and will not be here at the harvest, and to be honest have been so busy in the process we just did not have time. I am missing it! I enjoy the sprouting of the seeds, the maturing of the plants – apart from the weeding I enjoy most all of it!
I have enjoyed it since I planted my first been seed in a cut off milk carton in Kindergarten. I remember bringing in the milk carton and cutting one side to be a flap that folded down. With the flap folded down we wrapped the whole thing in plastic wrap so we could in a few days fold the side back down and see the roots. It was amazing… from a little dirt, and a little water the bean seed took off! I had never seen anything like it, and to this day the process still amazes me.
Many years later for a high school project I remember placing a wide variety of seeds in a long tray with a clear rooting substance and watching how all the different seeds grew and developed. I still stand in awe of the humble seed.
In my continuing journey through Mark’s Gospel I have reached chapter 4 this week. This chapter beings with Jesus masterful teaching often called the parable of the sower.
1 Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water’s edge. 2 He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said: 3 “Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, multiplying thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times.”
9 Then Jesus said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
10 When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables. 11 He told them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables 12 so that,
“‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving,
and ever hearing but never understanding;
otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!'”
13 Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? 14 The farmer sows the word. 15 Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. 16 Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. 17 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 18 Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. 20 Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop–thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown.”
Mark 4:1-20 (NIV)
Notice that the power is not in the sower, or in the location of the sowing, it is in the seed. We are called to cast seed, the word of God, when ever and where ever we can. The heavy lifting is done all by the seed. I often get sidetracked in the planing and strategy for the casting, spending so much time preparing and waiting for the perfect conditions. The simple truth is: when our casting is motivated by a love for the Word, and those in God’s world then our casting is never in vain.
The other thing to remember is where the seed comes from? Seeds come from fruit. The fruit of our time in the word will produce seeds in abundance to sow. Without the fruit of faith, we will be seedless and of little use to the kingdom.
So lets spend some time growing in the Word, that we might bear fruit – “fruit that will last!” Trust the power of the seed!