It’s harvest season for Indiana gardeners. Ten minutes in our little garden last night resulted in a tub full of fresh veggies. Today, I enjoyed (this term is used loosely) freezing green beans, broccoli and cauliflower. Tomatoes are coming on strong, and soon it will be time for salsa and sauce.
Though I have spent over 20 years on a farm and been a gardener most of my life, I never fail to marvel at the miracle of seed-to-fruit.
Wonder at all that grows in God’s creation is woven throughout His Word. I have been camped out this summer in the Book of Mark. As I’m led to examine this text alongside a book by the singer, songwriter and author Michael Card (Mark: The Gospel of Passion), I’m taking it slow. And I’m seeing my Savior anew through the eyes of Mark, the young man who was mentored by Jesus’ close friend, Peter. In his fourth chapter, verses 3-8 (from The Message), Mark recounts a parable, told by Jesus as a story that resonated with the local farmers.
“Listen. What do you make of this?” said Jesus. “A farmer planted seed. As he scattered the seed, some of it fell on the road and birds ate it. Some fell in the gravel; it sprouted quickly but didn’t put down roots, so when the sun came up it withered just as quickly. Some fell in the weeds; as it came up, it was strangled among the weeds and nothing came of it. Some fell on good earth and came up with a flourish, producing a harvest exceeding his wildest dreams.”
If you’ve been in church or Sunday school long enough, you have heard the Parable of the Seed. But, because Holy Scripture is literature that has life and breath, every foray into its pages yields a harvest of fresh fruit. For me this week, the fruit is a sweet balm for my soul.
You see, this young one I love is digging in his own plot of dirt, digging for truth and promise. Like many young Christians today, he’s grappling with the conflict between faith and doubt. In his searching, he’s challenging me to know and understand what I believe.
I’ve been his teacher, his spiritual mentor and Just Mom, and I have planted some seeds through the years. As described by Christ, I have no doubt that more than a handful became bird feed — little guys have short attention spans and teens tune you out. Other times, I know he must have been listening and I’m sure the words held meaning in that day, in that moment of his life. But I’m just as certain that on this day — today — they are forgotten.
And about those weeds. Who can identify which weeds strangle, can choke the life out of a fragile sprout?
Our world scatters plenty of life-strangling weeds in the hearts and brains of the young. But our God breathed weed-killing words that we
….whispered at night
….memorized at the desk
….sang in church
I believe many of those words fell on good earth and that they will produce “a harvest exceeding (my) wildest dreams.”
While Jesus discipled his Disciples, he knew he was sending them out to face obstacles of all kinds. But he tells them, as he is telling others who are following him, that they must trust the nature of the seed.
“History shows that the Word multiplies and spreads and grows to unimaginable proportions,” says Michael Card in his commentary. “Trust the seed, the self-contained power of the Word, which will not return empty.”
Between FAITH and DOUBT resides TRUST. As I send my young one out to face obstacles, I’m trusting the nature of the seed and counting on a harvest that will exceed my wildest dreams.
I was delighted to receive this prize in the mail today from author and blogger Leslie Leyland Fields. She recently held a contest on her blog and I was one of several winners. Thank you, Leslie!
You can read Leslie’s stories about her life as a fisherman on an Alaskan island on her blog at http://www.leslieleylandfields.com/.