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  • Writer's pictureGWL



Mark 4:26–34

Over the last year or so, I’ve adopted a new prayer that I use in my personal prayer time… and occasionally I work it into our worship gatherings. It’s a simple prayer, but it helps keep me focused and on task.

“Lord, put me in the path of someone who needs me. Put someone in my path that I need. And may something I do today, be of eternal significance.” More about that later…

Every follower of Christ has been seeded (if you will) and something is growing within us.

Sometimes we don’t see it, we don’t believe it, nor do we trust it. But it’s there!

Sometimes we wait years hoping, looking, and wondering when, and then one day we see the first sprout of “green” breaking through.

This parable from Jesus is quietly slipped in between two better know parables: the parable of the soil, and the parable of the mustard seed. It’s not about gardening or farming. Jesus is using images from gardening or farming to talk about life... your life and my life. His parable is a metaphor for the way God works in our lives. It’s meant to be encouraging... and to offer hope.

Our lives are like a garden that has been planted with seeds. And you know how that works. It takes time.

Tammy bought a little packet of tomato seeds... that we planted back around Good Friday. From those seed 30+ tomato plants sprouted. We kept 7 and gave the rest away.

Of course, we all know how planting seed works. And our faith is similar. A lot of what happens, begins underground, under the surface... hidden within the soil of our lives. There’s a lot of waiting. And then one day something sprouts and begins to grow, “first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain...” We are always in process, living into our completion.

“The kingdom is like... a man [who] scatters seed on the ground” according to Jesus. It makes me wonder, who are the people who’ve scattered seeds on the ground of your life? Who are the people that have loved and encouraged you, offered wisdom and guidance for your life, spoke difficult truths that changed your life? Who are the ones that gave you hope, stood by you, helped you find yourself?

In what ways did he or she offer you a place to put down roots, find stability, and get your life in order? Who has awakened you and opened your eyes to see the world, others, and yourself differently? Who has inspired and mentored you? Who was it that challenged you to be more than you ever thought you could be? In what ways did someone grow you up and call you into your better self?

Those are seeds scattered in your life by someone else.

And, on-the-other-hand... how are you and I sowing seed into the lives of others? Have you ever forgiven and reconciled with another, or asked someone’s forgiveness? How many times have you put another’s interest before your own? Who have you encouraged, loved, reached out to in compassion? When have you sat with someone in their grief and said, “I’ll be here for you?”

What barren ground is waiting to be seeded and planted with your life, gifts, passions, presence, and concerns? Maybe it’s the desolate ground of loneliness, fear, or despair. Maybe it’s the inhospitable ground of grief, pain, or heartbreak. How might you scatter seeds in those places and a thousand others like them?

Back to thinking about our lives... What’s sprouting and growing in your life today? What is flourishing and blossoming? Can you see new growth? What does that growth look like? Is it in your faith journey, marriage, parenting? Maybe it’s your concern for what is happening in our world today? Maybe there’s a growing compassion for those in need. Maybe you have a new vision for who you are and how you want to live your life. Maybe it’s a dream or vision for your life that is coming to fruition. Maybe your heart is softening and there’s a new tenderness in your relationships.

What do you wish was growing in the garden of your life? What missing? Where have weeds taken over? What needs attention?

Now... back to that prayer: “Lord, put me in the path of someone who needs me. Put someone in my path that I need. And may something I do today, be of eternal significance.” This is how we sow the Good News. By making ourselves available... by affording the Holy Spirit our time and talents, our giftings and graces... ministering to others... AND, allowing others to minister to us, spiritual growth ensues... and eternal contribution are invested in the Kingdom of God.

This is particularly important for fathers to understand.

I’m well aware that I have asked you more questions than I’ve given you answers. Jesus’ Parables don’t offer as many answers... as they ask us better questions. They give us our work to do. They offer a different lens through which to see ourselves, others, and the world. And maybe seeing differently is the beginning of being different.

This simple parable reminds us that we’re called to be “seeded” and to “sow seed” in the lives of others. It’s our place and calling in the Kingdom of God. May Jesus empower us to do no less...


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