Devotional: July 9, 2021
He also said, ‘The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, 27and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. 28The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. 29But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come.’
Mark 4: 26-29 NRSV
This story from Jesus’ lips is known as the parable of the growing seed. Jesus did not provide an interpretation of this parable. However, we know it is about the Kingdom of God. From other parables like Mark 4:4, it is also safe to assume that the seed is the Word of God, and the growth of the seed is the working of God in individual hearts.
Here in this parable, the farmer’s involvement with the crop happens only twice: when he plants the seed, and when he is there to harvest it. In between, the farmer is not to fret about the seed. He is not tilling the ground. He is merely going about his life: eating and sleeping, and getting up again the next day, to do it all over again. Each day he can plant seeds, trusting the Lord to grow the seed. In the parable, God is the one who provides all of the growth.
The farmer doesn’t enter the picture again until it is harvest time. Then, he goes in with his sickle, for “the harvest has come.” When the harvest occurs, he will be with the Lord, and see the result of what he planted.
What are we to make of this parable? One interpreter puts it this way: “The fact that the crop grows without the farmer’s intervention means that God can accomplish His purposes even when we are absent or unaware of what He’s doing. The goal is the ripened grain. At the proper time, the Word will bring forth its fruit, and the Lord of the harvest (Luke 10:2) will be glorified.”
This is a great parable for us in our world today. We are concerned and worried about many things and events. Many of us believe that we should be doing more, working harder, and spending more time on as many tasks as humanly possible. If we listen to our anxiety and the media, we would be awake, and worried, and striving 24 hours a day!
This parable is a reminder about who owns the field, and about who is Lord of creation. It is not us. It is God. Therefore, let us do our part: sowing seeds. Some soil will be receptive to the seed, but others won’t. We must then trust the Lord to help with the growth where the soil is receptive. He is in charge. The Lord will be there when we watch the results of our plantings. In the fullness of time, God will grow His Kingdom, the same way that fields and crops grow harvestable yields.
You command us to go into all the world, and tell people about you. May I do that, in my little corner of this globe. Then let me pray, and trust that you will take the seed of Your word, and grow it in the lives of people. It is a mysterious and wonderful process. We cannot change anyone, but we know that You can. You will provide the growth. Help me to trust that promise from You, and not to be filled with anxiety. I pray this prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen.