Mark 4:26-27 ESV
26 And he said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. 27 He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how.
When I think of the kingdom of God, I think of golden streets, flowing rivers and massive thrones surrounded by angels. The view from her walls is an endless universe, full of constellations, planets, and stars. But Jesus says something different. The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground.
No gold, no pearls, no rivers- just dirty, broken, fallow ground. This picture isn’t nearly as enticing as the former.
I was mowing the other day and began to contemplate a particular spot in my (really it’s Ab’s) yard. Anyhow, when we bought our house the previous owner said, “I left the playset here for your kids” which is seller-speak for “it’s worth absolutely nothing and I didn’t want to bother moving it.” Today, the only remnant of that rickety playset is a dirt section in the yard where the kids killed the grass dragging their feet on the swings.
So, last year I sprayed weed killer to keep the unwanted stuff out hoping the grass would grow. This year I realized I was doing the same thing except this time, after a few weeks of yard work, my hoping slowly devolved into a muted complaint.
The muttering in my soul replaced hoping something would grow with complaining about nothing growing. And then it dawned on me- maybe it’s because I haven’t planted anything?
Eventually, the harvest of the previous generation will be completed. Eventually, the rewards of their work will be depleted and we will be left with only the harvest of our scattering.
I recently read an op-ed by an economist about one of our Presidential candidates where he said, “he was born on third and thinks he hit a triple.” Let that sink in. Personally, this could describe most of us. We enjoy national boundaries we didn’t fight for and drive on streets we neither blazed nor paved. Someone had to cut down trees, place huge poles in the ground and run miles of cable so we could have internet service. If you’re reading this via a wireless connection, someone had to climb incredible heights to secure a satellite on a tower. We have no idea how any of this works but we enjoy the convenience of it every day. This is good. However, the ease of some things has given rise to a passionate laziness. We actually brag today about what we’re not going to do- about what we are not going to sacrifice.
At some point, we must do work.
One day, the only people surrounding us at church will be those we brought. The kids making a difference in the world will be the ones we raised. The companies providing services will be those we started (or continued). Are we ready to accept our role? Are we ready to scatter some seed?
The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed.
WHEN ONE DAY HAPPENS
Maybe this will help- not everything we are going to do is going to work.
Actually, most stuff won’t. Remember New Coke and Zima? Not every seed will produce fruit simply because the ground isn’t perfect. This can be frustrating, even debilitating. We do stuff and it doesn’t work so we assume God doesn’t want it to work so we quit working. The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed. No matter what. Scatter seed.
Jesus once talked about four different kinds of ground but only one type actually produced fruit. 75% of the ground where seed was scattered was no good. Seriously. God’s kingdom (as we can understand it) is like taking something perfect and setting it in something imperfect. Seed is perfect but where it goes is not. It is our calling to receive perfection from heaven and scatter it wherever we go.
How does that work? I have no idea. And neither did the man scattering seed in Jesus’ intentionally worded parable. If that man didn’t know, we don’t know either. Why? Because Jesus didn’t tell us.
In a time when more information is usually the answer, Jesus forces us to simply trust Him. Just do it because He said so. I like knowing why. I crave to know why. Faith doesn’t always (or ever) include why. According to His providence, God requires faith from His people. He could tell us more or show us more in an effort to reduce the necessity of faith, but He didn’t. Doesn’t. Obedience is sometimes more about faith than fruit. If we obey here, we will probably obey there. What we do today positions us for what we will do tomorrow. Faith tests us today for tomorrow’s seed. God will ask us to plant something tomorrow according to the seeds we scattered today. Which of those seeds will work?
I don’t know. Frankly, I don’t even care.
May our only concern be to please God- to participate in His kingdom and be the ones who scatter seed on the ground.