Linda and I were walking up to the camp office early this morning and, even though there was a chill to the wind, we were enjoying the blooming daffodils and blue skies … evidence that Spring is on the way. One of the scripture passages in the One Year Bible this week is the text for the Parable of the Sower. Feel like you’ve heard the Parable of the Sower more times than you can remember? You might be thinking “Yeah, yeah … I’ve heard this all before. Sow What?!” So what? Let’s consider together that it is a reminder of how it is that you and I may have life.
Reading Luke 8:4-21, my mind immediately recalls my wife, Linda, singing one of her most beloved songs, “The Seed. The song reminds us that the process of being buried (dying) in the ground is not comfortable, nor a process we typically would choose for ourselves. There is a waiting, a yearning, a growing impatience that marks that “dying” … and yet, it is necessary for life to ultimately spring forth.
Jesus’ teaching in this parable is that the soil (condition of the heart) where the seed falls (gospel is preached) will most significantly impact the development of the plant (life of faith). Rocks (hardness of heart), weeds (life-choking realities of this world), thorns (enemies of the gospel) rob us of life. He speaks in John’s account about what must happen for a grain of wheat to similarly bear fruit.
24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
John 12:24-25 – English Standard Version (ESV)
The context of this statement is significant, especially in light of our celebration of the resurrection of Jesus this past Sunday. In this passage in John, Jesus is talking about the reality of death for himself – his face was set toward Jerusalem and the coming cross. He would need to die and be raised again that he might bear fruit eternal. His life no doubt bore fruit in every healing, every teaching, every miracle, every life touched – but the greatest fruit was yet to come. He was raised to life and conquered death … speaking life into us by assuring us “Because I live, you also will live” John 14:19. His statement in v. 25 of John 12 is meant to remind you and I that dying to ourselves is the only means to life eternal. The seed must “die” to spring forth new life.
I can’t help but think of perennial flowers around camp (and likely in your flower beds at home) lying dormant through the leaves changing colors and the winter winds whirling snow around … tiny seeds have been waiting for a thaw. We are entering the season where some warmer rains and radiant beams of sun will bring them to life.
There is no doubt that, just as I witness in my own life, weed seeds remain in those flower beds as well, and they will spring up around us in seasons of our lives. In the midst of all that you will encounter in this world, take heart that the seed will grow by our Lord’s hand. This I know to be true for me … there was a seed planted in the soil of my heart long ago and God has been faithful to nurture it with rain drops and sun (his Son) so that it continues to grow and produce fruit for His sake. Lord, gives us eyes to see and ears to hear you; soften our hearts like fertile soil; and renew our minds that we may live transformed lives!