Summary: This is week five of our summer series and this message looks at the seeds of influence we scatter as we live.
When I was a ten or eleven years old my sister somehow conned my parents into buying a horse, it wasn’t long and one horse led to another and before you knew it I had been introduced to the concept of farming, at least in the sense that we had a small barn and livestock. When we moved to Hammond River, just outside of Saint John New Brunswick, my parents struck a deal with a local farmer that allowed us to keep our horse on his farm and in exchange my father sold my sister and me to him. Well not quite but at 13 it seemed that way. Murray boarded race horses and kept a few beef cattle and Dianne and I worked in the barns to pay for our horses being there. So for two years, until we sold our horses, we cleaned stalls and exercised animals, and in the spring we put up fences and in the summer and fall we brought in hay. And I discovered that I am way too lazy to be a farmer.
But in the eight parables where Jesus taught his followers about what the Kingdom of Heaven would look like he used the farmer not once as an illustration but three times . Two Thousand years ago farmers would have been a familiar site in Palestine, unlike today where our produce comes from all over the world then what the people ate was grown locally. And so even those who had no connection to the land didn’t have to look very far to see a man planting, weeding or harvesting his crop.
This is week six of our summer preaching series: the Kingdom of Heaven is Like. . . and we started with the premise that the Kingdom of Heaven is Like an Inukshuk. In case this is your first time out since June and you were wondering about the proliferation of Inuksuit around Cornerstone.
Because God’s Kingdom as manifested in the local church and the Christ Followers who make up the local church serve the same function in the world that the Inukshuk served in the Inuit’s world. To provide landmarks, direction and warning of dangers. And when the church is operating the way that it is supposed to operate and when Christ Followers are living the way that we are supposed to live then Christ can truly say: Now the People will know I was there.
Without the church, without Christians then the story of Christ would have just been an ancient myth but we make it come alive and prove the truth of Christ’s life, death and resurrection.
Seven times Christ begins a parable with the words The Kingdom of Heaven is Like. . . and once he begins by saying: The Kingdom of God is Like . . . And it is that reference, found only in the Gospel of Mark that we are looking at today. Debbie read it for us earlier, but let’s read it together.
Mark 4:26-29 Jesus also said, “The Kingdom of God is like a farmer who scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, while he’s asleep or awake, the seed sprouts and grows, but he does not understand how it happens. The earth produces the crops on its own. First a leaf blade pushes through, then the heads of wheat are formed, and finally the grain ripens. And as soon as the grain is ready, the farmer comes and harvests it with a sickle, for the harvest time has come.”
You gotta love the Parables of Jesus at times, because they aren’t always as clear as some would have you believe. Sometimes he explains them and sometimes he doesn’t, sometimes they are self-explained and sometimes they aren’t.
And I’ve warned before beware of the person who says they have it all figured out, they might have it figured out but that doesn’t mean they have it figured out right, it just means they aren’t going to hear any other opinions.
Sometimes we hear something and we hear it wrong. One time Angela and I were in the car and a song came on from the seventies, perhaps you know it. (Play MP3 Intro to Rosalie) Written and recorded in 1973 by Michael Tarry, the song was a favourite of mine. So I was singing along and Angela said “What did you sing” so I told her “She was a belly dancer, with the grace of a duck She would dance up above in the other room.” She didn’t say it but her look said “You are an idiot” what she said was “The lyrics are ‘She was a ballet dancer. With the grace of a dove, She would dance up above in the other room.’” Wow, that made a lot more sense.