Summary: A short talk for our Church harvest festival attended my many people including a family celebrating a baptism.
What have I got here?
Yes, that’s right, a packet of sweet pea seeds – a Father’s Day gift from Rebekah.
Don’t they look fantastic! The packet says, ‘An amazingly diverse mixture of colours and markings including bi-coloured, marbled and flaked blooms. Perfect for cut flowers or training up trellis and fences.’ Just look at my beautiful flowers – not!
There’s loads of potential in the packet, but there’s no point inviting you round to see my fantastic flowering plants while the seeds are still in the packet. I need to sow them; and when Jesus spoke his message he was sowing seeds into people’s lives (13:18-19).
This morning as we’ve considered God’s love, said sorry for our sin, and been open to God’s lavish forgiveness, seeds have been sown into your lives.
As I sow these seeds I need to read the instructions on the packet if I want to produce a good crop of sweet pea next year.
First the small print: “Performance subject to growing conditions”.
Next, for outdoor sowing in April or May: Where? In a prepared seed bed.
How? Thinly, in rows 45 cm apart. Cover lightly with 1.5 cm of fine soil. Firm gently and keep moist.
Care: When large enough, thin and train up supports as required, and pick regularly for longer-flowering.
Jesus told parables to paint a picture, with a punchy, poignant, pertinent point – seven sweet peas; and this parable is about how receptive we are to the news about Jesus being sown into our lives.
The news about Jesus is this: God created you. He knows everything about you, and he loves you. He hates the bad things and the stupid things we do, but like a perfect father he still loves us totally, and he loves us so much that he came in the form of Jesus to help us out of our mess and die for us. The question is, are we grateful, have we thanked God for the gift of Jesus, and what are we doing about it?
What kind of soil are you? How receptive are you to the Good News about Jesus?
In the story Jesus told some seed fell on the path (13:4). It was hard, flat, dry soil. That’s a tough place for anything to grow; and if you’re hard hearted towards God perhaps that describes you.
Other seed fell in places where there was only thin soil (13:5), and some (13:7) where weeds were in abundance, but some fell in good, fertile soil (13:8).
Large crowds heard Jesus tell this parable but only a few disciples, close followers of Jesus heard the explanation because they asked Jesus to tell them, and I believe it is a lot like that today.
I’m not going to fully explain the parable either, but just as it is important for me to read and follow the instructions with my sweet peas if I want to see them grow next year, so too if you want to understand about Jesus, I believe you need to ask him for an explanation; find out what Jesus really did and said.
Don’t rely on hearsay. Find out for yourself. Decide today whether you want to be good, receptive soil to the message of Jesus, and do something about it.