Planting the Seed

In a story about planting in Mark 4, we are introduced to a teaching technique that Jesus uses frequently throughout the gospels: parables. Since childhood, I’ve heard parables defined as “an earthly story with a heavenly meaning.” For thousands of years people have told stories to illustrate points that might otherwise be too complex for most to understand. Jesus uses this same tool, and his illustrations often involve agriculture. Personally, I don’t know much about gardening and agriculture. What little I do know, I have learned from my wife’s family who have a farm in Nebraska.
From them I’ve learned that farming can be hard work. It involves long days. It necessitates intentional planning. It demands adaptation of techniques. Some things about it have been the same for centuries, and other things change over time. I saw a video once of a combine from the early 1900’s being pulled by a team of mules. My brother-in-law, Steve, doesn’t use one of those. He uses a combine that requires a ladder on the side to climb into, has a GPS built in and enough horsepower to thrill any muscle car enthusiast. But his goal is still the same as it was for the farmers driving those mules. His goal is a good crop.
The crop is always uncertain. Some years it’s amazing; some years it’s sparse. Some years it’s the best looking crop ever, and it’s taken out by a hail storm the evening before harvest is planned. There are some variables of the crop that are under the planter’s control, but there are many that are not. And Jesus tells us in Mark 4, that spreading the gospel works the same way. Our job is to plant. Not everyone will respond in the same way, but our job is to plant. Not everyone will grow at the same rate, but our job is to plant. And as with farming, it might require hard work, long days, intentional planning and using the new technology available to us today. Sometimes it is much simpler. It is just us telling people about how Jesus has changed our lives and can change theirs. How can you plant the seed this week? Who’s your one?

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