June 07, 2017

The Mystery of Seeds

Mark 4:26-29

Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how.

—  Mark 4:27

My wife and I plant a variety of seeds—beans and radishes in rows, zucchini and squash in mounds. These methods make the sprouting and growing of seeds no less of a mystery. Surely there is a scientific explanation today for the sprouting of seeds and the growth of tender shoots, and that will only increase my awe.

When our children were young, we enjoyed reading the stories of Frog and Toad Together by Arnold Lobel. One favorite was the tale of Toad planting a garden. After a day or two he began to fret about whether his seeds would ever sprout and grow. So he sang to them, stayed up with them all night (in case they were afraid of the dark), and even screamed at them and wept over them. Exhausted, Toad finally fell asleep. When he awoke, he saw to his great relief that the seeds had sprouted.

Too often, I am like Toad when working in Jesus’ church and God’s kingdom. I act and feel as if it all depends on me. As Jesus tells us in his parable, however, God’s garden grows from seed to harvest “all by itself.” So much of this is a mystery. We need to do our part—sow the seed, water, tend the garden, and reap the harvest—but we do not make the seed grow. That happens by God’s gracious work. We can simply delight in doing our small part in growing the kingdom.

Dear God, thanks for the gift and mystery of seeds. Help me to humbly do my part in work and prayer and to rely on you for growth in and around me. In Jesus I pray. Amen.

About the author — Don Byker

Don Byker has been a pastor since 1984 in various churches and institutional settings. Don and his wife, Donna, are the parents of four adult children, two of whom are married. Donna and Don are also the glad grandparents of three granddaughters. Currently Don is serving in a rural church in Michigan full of gardeners.

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