Summary: The time in-between sowing and harvest can be discouraging, but the law of the harvest works. We can rest confident that God will finish what he began.
It's Growing In Secret
This past Friday as Josh and I walked around in our backyard we looked at the various plants along the fence line. We do not spend a lot of time out there and Mike does a great job maintaining everything. We noticed something that we had not noticed before. There was a large tree growing up. Its leaves reaching up into the powerlines. Josh asked what kind of tree it was. I admitted that I was not sure and then as we looked further I saw a bunch of bananas there hanging with a beautiful purple flower bulb hanging beneath it. I had no idea that there was a banana tree growing there and yet in a month or so I will have fruit from the tree that is growing there on our property. I was surprised by the fruit. In the Gospel of Mark 4:26-29, Jesus said:
Mark 4:26-29 NIV
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.”
There are moments in our lives where good things grow up that we are unaware of. Some of these things are planted by God, some are things we have sown. There remains a secret hidden power in all of it.
In the Gospel of Mark, this chapter explains what discipleship looks like. Jesus uses agrarian images that his hearers would have understood.
1. Scattered Seed
He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground.
God's Voice scatters life-giving Seed all over the earth. God is pouring out His Spirit upon all flesh.
The third stanza of Psalm 65 praises God's graciousness to the creation and to us.
Psalm 65:9-13 NIV
9 You care for the land and water it; you enrich it abundantly. The streams of God are filled with water to provide the people with grain, for so you have ordained it.10 You drench its furrows and level its ridges; you soften it with showers and bless its crops.11 You crown the year with your bounty, and your carts overflow with abundance.12 The grasslands of the wilderness overflow; the hills are clothed with gladness.13 The meadows are covered with flocks and the valleys are mantled with grain; they shout for joy and sing.
Beginning in verse 9 the Psalmist uses agrarian cultural references
that would have been very meaningful to the ancient Israelites. For them, blessing, health, and wealth were associated with their crops... Abundant rain was evidence that God was visiting the earth to water it, enriching it. The rain was called "the river of God." Grain grew as the earth softened with showers. This was the blessing of God... The phrase "Your paths drip with abundance" (verse 11) is a reference to "a richly-laden cart dropping its contents in its track." In this meaningful figure of speech, God drives a cart that is so overloaded with abundance of produce that it falls off as He drives by. This overabundance drops off on the pastures and hills (verse 12). The evidence of God's blessing is seen in pastures covered with flocks and valleys with grain (verse 13). As a consequence of these rich blessings, the pastures and valleys shout for joy and sing.
Daniel Segraves. The Messiah in the Psalms: Discovering Christ in Unexpected Places. (Hazelwood: WAP, 2007), 245.
God is not stingy with His blessings! Even those who do not know Him benefit from His gracious gift of life! He makes the rain to water the fields and sun to shine on everyone. There are blessings all around you waiting for you to just reach down and pick them up. He is scattering seed everywhere.
2. Secret Growth
Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how.
There are things that God has planted in your life that you may have forgotten or do not really know are there. They are secretly growing for a future purpose. God has prepared everything that you need and it will be there when you need it.
If you look back on your life you will be able to think of moments when you have come to unexpected places and God has already prepared what you need. It's there.
This is what the Scripture means that says
Deuteronomy 8:3 NKJV
So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.