How many ways did Jesus try to explain to his listeners about the Kingdom of God? He taught them in parables and stories and examples that they could see and relate to. Walking along in the countryside and seeing a field of wheat, Jesus would use the moment to teach. He looked for earthly examples to teach his followers lessons about the heavenly Kingdom.
I recently asked my wife what her favorite parable was, and said she liked the parable Jesus taught about the man who was sowing seeds. And I said, oh the one about the seed that fell on the four types of soil? No, she said. Then you mean the one when the farmer’s enemy scatters weeds and they grow up with the good crops? No, not that one either, she said. At which point I gave up and said, Why don’t you just tell me the parable you mean. (I didn’t realize there were so many parables involving seeds being sown.)
She said one of her favorite parables is the one where a farmer goes out and sows his seed in the field, and then whether he sleeps or is awake the seed continues to grow from a little sprout to a full plant until the harvest time. This is what the kingdom of God is like. We are like the farmer. We plant little kingdom seeds in the lives of those around us, and magically they take root and start to grow, God provides the rain and the sunshine that the little sprouts need.
Our job is to sow the seeds, to bring the kingdom where we go. We don’t make the seed. We can’t bring the rain. We can’t force them to grow. That’s why Jesus said, no matter if the farmer is asleep or awake, the seed takes root and grows. Sometimes we sow into the lives of those we we see every day, and sometimes in those we meet only briefly.
We sow the kingdom seed and the rest is up to God. What a relief that is for those of us who worry about performance, as if God is keeping some sort of heavenly score card on us. How good it is to know that it’s not up to us. We just bring the kingdom where we go. And the rest is up to God.
Read the story of the sower at Mark 4:26-29.