Tag Archives: sowing

Sow Away

I don’t know about anyone else, but my seeds aren’t having a very successful time this year.  The beans are looking ok, but have yet to prove anything with producing a crop!  But nothing else seems to have done very much in the strange weather – it’s either been far too hot, too cold or too wet – never ideal spring conditions to get things growing.

The cucumbers are making some progress on the window ledge

But when seeds do get growing, they are a miracle to behold.  They come out of the packet shrivelled and dry-looking and with the right amount of warmth, and moisture they will sprout in the darkness of the soil.  You can’t pull the shoots out, you can’t make things happen, you don’t even have to stand over it – you can only do the right things and wait.

Mark 4:26-34

Another Story about Seeds

26 Again Jesus said:

God’s kingdom is like what happens when a farmer scatters seed in a field. 27 The farmer sleeps at night and is up and around during the day. Yet the seeds keep sprouting and growing, and he doesn’t understand how. 28 It is the ground that makes the seeds sprout and grow into plants that produce grain. 29 Then when harvest season comes and the grain is ripe, the farmer cuts it with a sickle.

A Mustard Seed

30 Finally, Jesus said:

What is God’s kingdom like? What story can I use to explain it? 31 It is like what happens when a mustard seed is planted in the ground. It is the smallest seed in all the world. 32 But once it is planted, it grows larger than any garden plant. It even puts out branches that are big enough for birds to nest in its shade.

The Reason for Teaching with Stories

33 Jesus used many other stories when he spoke to the people, and he taught them as much as they could understand. 34 He did not tell them anything without using stories. But when he was alone with his disciples, he explained everything to them.

These passages seem to be what my spellchecker calls a fragment – it’s only part of something.  There seems to be no point in them by themselves outside of what they belong to.

They follow on from the famous Parable of the Sower, so are to be read in that light.  So the context seems to be you keep on sowing – because who knows what God is going to do. Our calling as God’s people is to sow faithfully, but to leave the rest to God.

If I hadn’t planted my pea and carrot seeds they couldn’t have grown at all, whatever the conditions of the soil, light, warmth or water.  If we do not sow God’s ways, they cannot take root and grow.

So, as God’s sowers we are to live his ways – and leave the rest to him.

Lord,

I worry about conditions and people’s responses

–  may I leave that to you,

and do my bit by faithfully living in your ways,

showing your love,

sowing seeds for you

Sowing the seeds

Planting seeds is a risky and sometimes surprising business.  You plant them, and yet you never know when or how they will come up.  Seeds grow very much dependent upon heat, water, quality of the soil, and the pecking of the birds.  We can do what we can to help the growing conditions, but unless you sow the seeds, they have no chance to grow at all.

Jesus tells us about a sower going out to sow.

Interestingly, although he tells us about the success or otherwise of the various places the seed lands, he doesn’t use that as a reason to sow very carefully, to choose what look like fertile places to plant, not even in his explanation.

Wondering whether the crop will grow or not is not an excuse not to sow seeds.  It may be a reason to take more careful care of the seeds we do sow, to tend them, keep adding to the soil, keep them free from weed and try to keep the birds from pecking – but not to stop sowing.

You never know what surprises you might get.

We have one poppy come up in our front garden – actually it looks like nearly everyone on our road has!  I didn’t plant it, I assume it was blown there by the wind.  I can’t even claim to have tended it lovingly and carefully, I didn’t notice it until it was flowering, but it is a beautiful and wonderful addition.  The sowing, even if done by the wind and rain, was not in vain.

Neither can we as the sowers dictate what the growth might look like.  I tentatively pulled up some of our carrots at the weekend to see if they had grown big enough.  This is what I found:

Carrots – but not as you know them!

They wouldn’t be accepted by any supermarket, the wouldn’t meet any directives for straightness, they may not even be seen as appropriate to serve – but strange-looking or not – they tasted great.  Their way of growth did not stop them being carrots all the same.

We are called to sow, not to dictate growth, style, place to grow, colour of the flower or anything else – just to sow the seeds.

So we should keep sowing, anywhere and everywhere, and who knows what will grow and where?  What surprises we might get?  And what will be produced?

Oh – and I think Jesus was talking about sowing his word, his ways, by what we do and say.