Monday, July 11, 2011

The Sower and the Seeds

God placed me on a farm and it’s there I grew up and learned about seeds and soil and tilling, planting, and weeding.

Harvey and Norma, my parents, began by letting me “help” them in the garden. I learned how to stretch the binder twine across the width of the garden so that the rows would be more or less straight. Mom taught me how to use this pointed hoe to make a groove in the dirt, carefully keeping the clods of dirt out as I made the groove. Then she would show me just how to place the seed in the groove made by the hoe and press it down with the point of my finger so that it made good contact with the moist, damp earth. And then we would very carefully cover the seed with the just the right depth of dirt.

And then we waited for the rain to water the rows and soften the clods that we couldn’t break up. Most of the time the germination was 100%, but not always.

Sometimes, we would notice that things were going to well in the row. It might have been insects or rodents or just bad seed. You just couldn’t be sure. If there was time we would replant and hope there were enough days left in the season to grow good produce.

You see, the garden was where our vegetables came from; there weren’t any cans of beans and corn in the cupboard. There were quart jars of beans, corn, carrots, and such in the cellar. There were baskets of potatoes in the cave and onions drying in the rafters overhead.

But the harvest always depended on how well the soil was taken care of and the quality of the seed and also the care taken in the planting. If one thing was out of kilter then the crop was affected and we might have to go to the store in town for canned vegetables. They weren’t ever as good as ours from the garden.

Jesus taught the people who gathered around him while he sat in the boat by the sea. They knew all about seeds and soil. Their methods were a little different from what I learned.

They would scatter the seed by hand and then they would till the soil. Of course when you throw seed by hand it doesn’t always go every place that you want it to. Some goes on the path, some falls in the gravel, some in the weedy patches at the edge of the field, but some does fall in the good soil. They understood all that but did they understand his meaning? They had ears to hear but were they listening?

Jesus’ disciples even asked him what he meant. And so he explained it to them in very simple, easy to understand terms. The seeds were God’s words to his children.

Just like the seeds scattered in the field not every one of God’s words was heard or understood. Some heard but didn’t understand and some never gave the Word a chance.

But some of the words were understood, some of the words took root and the result was that many came to be filled with the Spirit of God.

Even though technology has improved the planting of seeds in the fields resulting in unbelievable yields the planting of God’s Word is still by proclamation. And whether there is a bountiful harvest all depends on the ears that receive the Message and God’s good grace.

Are people going to hear the Word and let it grow in their hearts or is it going to die for lack of nutrition? Friends, it’s all up to God. Our work is to tell the story as Jesus did and trust in God to take care of the rest, just as the farmer does who puts the seed into the ground in the spring. He does the best that he can and then trusts that God will provide the rest in just the right quantities to produce a good harvest.

Good friends, I pray that God’s word takes root in your hearts today so that you can share the story with those He brings to you.

Thanks be to God for his bountiful grace. Amen.

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