Monday, September 7, 2015

Get Growing!

     Interestingly enough, only Mark (4:26-29) records this parable.  Here it is:
     "He also said, 'This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.'”
     Jesus compared Himself to a grain of wheat: "And Jesus answered them, saying, 'The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal'" (John 12:24)
     Jesus sees the potential that is contained in a seed.  He knows of its amazing hidden power to grow beyond itself.  Jesus' death, like a seed, contained the hidden power of the Resurrection, which would not be made evident until Jesus was put in the earth.  
    The Kingdom of God is no different.  It must be planted and then its amazing power will be released.  
    You open an apple, and in its heart, in its center, is a group of seeds.  Small and black, they look nothing like an apple or an apple tree.  They certainly do not look like an orchard.  So, in effect, it takes faith to take these seeds outside and plant them in the ground.  Why faith?  Because they look nothing like what they contain.  They show no power.  They show no growth.  They are merely a handful of black seeds in the palm of your hand.  For now. 
    That's where this parable tells of Jesus and His Kingdom.  "A man scatters seed on the ground."  The man is the Man.  
     Jesus came to earth with nothing to recommend Him.  He was poor and from the boondocks.  Philip was so excited about this Man, Jesus, but look at Nathanael's reaction:  "Philip found Nathanael and said to him, 'We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote-- Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.' Nathanael said to him, 'Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?' Philip said to him, 'Come and see.'" (John 1:45-6)
     Jesus scatters the message of the Kingdom on the ground:  the soil of His followers.  No matter what Jesus was doing, the seeds--the message of hope that His death and resurrection will inaugurate--took root.  The seeds grew because Jesus was all too aware of the power contained in the message.
     Why?  The message was of His Father, the Almighty God:  "For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak. I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me." (John 12:49-50)  The words, the message, the seeds:  the power contained therein is of God Himself.  
     Seeds grow and produce a harvest.  Jesus' ministry grew and produced a harvest.  But even more so, His death and resurrection released a power that now we as believers possess: "And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you." (Rom. 8:11)
    Did you catch that?  We have the same power living in us that raised Jesus from the dead!  Whoa!  Now that's good news!  You may see yourself as a wee seed.  God sees you as a field of waving grain, able to feed many.  How so?  The same Power that raised Jesus--the Father in heaven--raises you to new life and His abundance.
   You see a seed.  He sees an orchard.
   You see a seed packet in the garden section of the store.  He sees a beautiful garden.
   You see a pine cone.  He sees a forest.
   You see yourself as one insignificant person. He sees His child, set to work by His power and His message of love.   
   See yourself as He sees you, and in the power of His Son, get growing!

    This is a tiny baby praying mantis.  He (or do you tell?) may be small now, but as it grows, it will be a mighty hunter, able to take down butterflies.  God loves the small things, for He is excited by what will be.  He loves you and is excited by what will be!


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