All by itself (08-02-21)
Bible Readings: Mark 4:26-29, Psalm 1:1-3
Jesus said, "This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground.
Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain, first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come."
Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither, whatever they do prospers.
Have you ever heard an apple tree straining to produce apples? Have you ever been out in the garden and heard the grass growing? We planted some grass seed last spring, I never heard it straining to germinate, produce roots or grow fine blades of green grass, but it did all of these. All by itself.
Growth and fruitfulness is not about effort, it’s about having the right conditions. Given good soil, sunshine and rain, and no late frosts, an apple tree will produce apples all by itself. Given a fine seed bed, rain, and protection from the birds, grass seed will germinate and grow all by itself.
If, in Jesus’ parable, you and I are the soil, and God’s word is the seed, what are the conditions that would enable the seed, all by itself, to germinate, put down roots, grow a healthy stalk and then produce a fruitful harvest in your life?
These conditions might include our own choices and decisions, the role of the church and the support of our Christian brothers and sisters, the teachings of the bible and the work of the Holy Spirit. Can you think of any others?
There is real encouragement in this parable. Being fruitful for God is not about effort, it is about having the simple conditions for growth in place. If we do that, fruitfulness will happen, all by itself.
What are these conditions for growth like in your life?
Which ones are you aware of and grateful for?
Are there any that you feel are lacking?
How might you introduce them into the soil of your life?
Father God, thank you for sowing the seed of your word in my life. I choose today to let it germinate and I ask you to nourish it, water it and enable it to produce a harvest in my life.
The Lord’s my Shepherd