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Sunday, 13 July 2014

Just Enough Good Soil

If you are a sensible farmer, you don't throw seed randomly around.

Especially if it's a cereal crop. If it's wheat or barley or corn - the seed could have been eaten. Every pound of barley corn is a loaf fewer on the table. In Jesus's day a farmer might broadcast - that is, throw around - the seeds.  But I'd think he'd try and have a decent degree of accuracy. Just skipping along the side of the road, merrily throwing seed around, knowing 50% is gonna land on the gravel, isn't great management of your resources.

But the story says that the seed gets chucked everywhere. And when it lands on the good land, it's got a real chance of growing. It's been ploughed, it's probably had manure put on it, it's gonna be fairly flat. But the sower throws the seeds everywhere.

Seeds are amazing things. In an acorn, there's some fat, some protein, some carbohydrate - just enough of each that, if the acorn gets watered, it can produce a root that can reach out for an anchor, for water and nutrients - and a shoot that can reach up to the sunshine. And it contains the DNA - the genetic instructions - to build an oak tree that can produce its own acorns. All that in a thing that is so tiny in your hand.

Some seeds can grow after a thousand years if they're stored dry. Some can only germinate if they've been eaten - and then come out of the other end - of a bird or another animal. But all seeds, in the right place given the right conditions, can grow.  I've got plants growing in the gutters of my garage. I've seen butterfly bushes - buddleias - growing halfway up fifty-foot walls down the sides of the London railways. If the field is well-managed, that's good for a seed. But they'll take the chance.

The story's not about farming. It's about the Kingdom of God. And when God's the farmer, the rules change. It seems God is prepared to throw the Kingdom around randomly, in the hope some will grow.
What's the Kingdom? It's the place where God's values are there in place of the world's ones.
Think of the person you like least. The one who really gets on your nerves. The one everyone loathes. In God's rules, they're loved.

Think of the one everyone looks down on. They could be a celebrity who's fallen on hard times - a homeless person - a drunk staggering back from a night on the town, who wants to be your "friend". Even a banker. In God's rules, they're loved.

Or maybe the one's yourself. Unable to believe that God loves you, but waiting to receive the seed of God's love, planted in your heart. When you first know that God loves you - when you first know what Jesus did, in his life and death for you - then a seed is shooting. If you nurture that, come to God in prayer and praise, it will grow. You may think the Church is God's ploughed field, and you're a long way off the beaten track - down a hedgerow or just a plant pot in a back garden - but if there's the need for God, the hope to let him grow in your heart, the desire to let God's love grow in your heart - then you'll just be enough good soil to bear fruit.

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