Monday, July 14, 2014

God Throws His Seeds, His Blessing, His Grace Everywhere

Who here this morning has had a yard so full of weeds that they killed all the weeds and started all over trying to get good grass established? Quite a few I imagine.
So, what was the process like that you used to get your new lawn? Did you try more than one? How long did you work before you were satisfied with the results? Or are you still working on it?
When 'L' and I bought our place the lawn hadn’t been sprayed for weeds for a few years. There were bare patches where nothing grew. Yet, there were places where dandelions and plantain and wild violets…oh, I can’t forget the creeping Charlie. They were all thriving in the environment of our yard.
So, I did what I knew to do, I sprayed and then I sprayed some more and then I sprayed even more. And then we pulled and dug weeds out of the flower beds.
Then I raked and bought bluegrass seed and carrying the bag I’d reach in taking hands full of seed throwing them in a semi-circle as I walked the grid I had laid out in my head. And I waited for rain. The next year I did it again. And the next year I did it again. Finally it began to look like a lawn.
But there was a place where, no matter what I did, no grass seed would or could grow. That was underneath the purple maple tree.
Eventually I gave up trying to grow grass there and planted hosta and bleeding hearts and lilies and such.
You would think that the job would be done at some point but it seems like there’s always a dandelion or violet or creeping Charlie that sneaks in and so I spray.
And every so often I get my bag of seed, I’ve learned that I need grass that grows best in shade, and I throw hands full of seed on the thin places. And some gets in the flower beds where it grows very well. I only wish it would do that in the thin places.
So, today’s gospel lesson has Jesus telling the folks gathered on the beach a story about a farmer going out to sow seed in his field.
Even though Jesus is talking about a farmer sowing seed the people understood that he was really talking about something else.
Let me pause here and ask you why Jesus came to Israel and to whom did he come to preach and teach? He came to save God’s chosen ones, the people of Israel.
So, those listening to him teach, the scribes, the Pharisees, and the Levites caught on right away that he was talking about God’s Word, God’s Love, God’s Grace being offered to everyone. Jesus was saying that God wasn’t being exclusive, he was spreading his kingdom, his good news everywhere so everyone had a chance to receive his love.
That didn’t sit well with the religious folks of Jesus’ day. They couldn’t believe that God was offering his grace to the Gentiles, the foreigners and aliens of the land.
So, was this a new tenet Jesus was preaching or not? I don’t think so. Many times in the Old Testament we find God’s grace falling on those who weren’t God’s chosen ones. In Isaiah 55 beginning with verse 10 we find this,…“10 As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, 11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
Go clear back to Genesis and read about God creating this universe, this world and everything that we can see and everything we can’t see. How did it come to be? God spoke and his voice boomed throughout the universe and it just was.
God is generous, and extravagant. Think about this for a minute. All the people in the world, what do you believe they were created for and where did they come from…all the people? If we believe that God created everything and everyone then doesn’t it make sense that in God’s kingdom all will be invited?
So, God’s grace, God’s Word, God’s Love is sown everywhere giving everyone a chance to receive it all. God doesn’t care where it lands. Just like the farmer throwing the seeds scattering them on rocks, on poor soil, in the weed patch, and on the good soil so God scatters his grace.
Now, what do you think our friend Paul had to say about this? Go to his second letter to the Corinthians chapter 9 beginning with verse 6. He says, “6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written:
“They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor;
    their righteousness endures forever.”
10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
12 This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. 13 Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. 14 And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. 15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!”
There’s that word ‘generosity’ again. And Paul adds the word abundantly. God blesses us with abundance so we can be generous in return scattering our blessings wherever, to whomever God puts out there for you and me to encounter.
So, my good friends, God in his mercy has blessed us with his abundance and his grace. What do you think he’d have us do with it after hearing these scriptures today? Bury it in the ground? I don’t think so. Let those who have ears to hear, listen.
Thanks be to God for his grace. Amen.