Summary: God moves powerfully and lovingly in our lives to give us faith and to nurture that faith.
Mark 4: 26-29 “Seeds Grow and So Do Christians”
When does a miracle become invisible? It becomes invisible when it becomes commonplace. This parable talks about the miracle of growing seed. A farmer plants a hard, dead seed in the ground, and a few months later returns and harvests a crop. A miracle takes place. In Nebraska, we are surrounded by miracles, and because of this we don’t see the miracle happening.
THE POWER OF THE SEED
Imagine our ancestors pondering the power of the zucchini or the tomato. The seeds are small; a person can carry one hundred of them in his or her hand. Yet those small seeds can produce enough fruit to feed a family—and in the case of zucchini, an entire town. Certainly, the seed contains some power within it, which enables it to accomplish this great feat.
Even those who have degrees in agronomy can still marvel at the miracle that takes place. They may be able to explain the chemical reactions that are involved in the germination process, but they can also be amazed at the number of variables that consistently occur in order for the seed to sprout and grow.
The seed contains a force, which is difficult to label or describe. But that force is released, when the seed is planted. That force accomplishes its purpose, the seed becomes a plant, and the plant bears fruit.
A person may ask what this parable has to do with our lives today. It is simply this: like the planted seed, God’s Word has great power when in planted in our lives. It grows within us, changing us into God’s image, and producing within us the fruit of the Spirit—the characteristics of God.
THE POWER OF THE WORD
This parable teaches us and reminds us how the Word of God, the power of God, acts in our lives. It proclaims to us that growing in our faith is not working hard to please Jesus. It is not every day trying harder and harder to be like Jesus. You and I grow in our Christian faith, as the Word powerfully works within us.
This is good news for those of us who are tempted to reduce the our Christian lives to a list of “have to’s.” I have to be kind. I have to read my Bible. I have to pray.
This parable is good news to those of us who look at our lives and wonder if being a Christian has made much of a change. There doesn’t seem to be much new in our lives. We don’t appear to have many God like characteristics, and we are well aware of those areas of our lives that do not glorify God.
Christian growth has more to do with allowing the Word of God to be planted in our lives, than it does doing great things to be like Jesus. God’s Word is planted in our lives when we worship. Personal devotions and Bible studies enable God’s Word to be planted in our lives. Fellowship and Service expose us to God’s Word, too. When God’s Word is planted in our lives it takes root and grows.
Ironically, it can be demonstrated that the way to grow and mature in our Christian lives is to stop trying.
Returning from Tanzania last Sunday, our group was told that our plane had been delayed until the next day. I could have easily become angry, and while standing in line I could have been impatient—I am not known as the most patient person in the world. While I waited in line, I found myself imagining that I was reclining in the hands of Jesus. Suddenly I realized that God was in control, that I did not have to worry, fret or stew, and that everything would work out—no matter what happened.
Those involved in sports know that performance is not based on trying harder. Great players focus on the basics and allow those seeds to take root and bear fruit in the lives during the game. Learning to golf or ski are good examples of how this is done.
There is good news! God wants us to experience the abundant life that is ours because of Jesus’ death and resurrection. God wants us to be strong, fruitful, loving Christians. It is God’s gift to us.
God invites us to stop trying harder, to rest in his arms, and allow God’s Word to work in our lives.