‘Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. The ones on the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. The ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe only for a while and in a time of testing fall away. As for what fell among the thorns, these are the ones who hear; but as they go on their way, they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. But as for that in the good soil, these are the ones who, when they hear the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patient endurance.
I’m careful with my seeds, I hate to waste them. Instructions usually suggest that you scatter them and then thin-out the seedlings later. I’d rather plant them one by one at the appropriate distance because I don’t want to throw away 50 seedlings to leave 10 plants. The problem is, this rarely works and I end up with only 4 germinating and a big gap of emptiness soon fills with weeds. Maybe I need to be more wasteful and less controlling.
This parable farmer is wanging his seeds everywhere, he doesn’t seem to care, it’s as if he has a limitless supply of seed. It’s on the path, in the weeds, in the pond, over the tarmac, on the shed roof and all over the decking. This parable farmer has no concern over where or how growth will happen, he just flings the seed with care-free abandon.
I like to think that growth will happen in the place I have chosen. That sprouts will grow here and beans will grow there. Tomatoes and cucumbers will grow in the polytunnel and potatoes are supposed to be in the special sacks that never work that well. Courgettes will ramble up the frame I have built rather than romp off over next door’s fence!
God seems to put more value on growth simply being abundant, areas of fertility more than making up for fallow ground. If I’m to be God’s gardener, maybe I need to learn to be more wasteful with the seeds he has given me, maybe I need to stop deciding where I think they will grow, instead letting them spill from my hands and my pockets as I walk in his footsteps.
God of life and growth, I’m going out today with a bag of your seeds. I know where they might grow best, Which lives will be most receptive. I also have a good idea where they will not take, Which lives not to waste good seed on.
Guide me into places and situations and opportunities Where I might see the abundance of your life flourishing, In people and communities I never expected to find it. Amen.
The Rev’d Phil Nevard, Minister of Sawston, Whittlesford & Castle Camps