Scripture: Mark 4:26-34
What if you were to visit a country living in extreme poverty and oppression and were asked to give an account of what life is like in the United State. Would you be able to explain or inform that group of people enough that they would be able to make an accurate judgment of our nation? How exactly would you explain the foreign concepts of a constitution, elections, three branches of government to people who live under the rule of a dictator who has been in power for their entire life? How would you explain the concept of a volunteer military, or market economics, and educational systems to people who are ignorant of all these concepts? To make the issue even worse they do not understand the words you are saying to them so they begin twisting what you say into concepts that they are more familiar with.
The frustration you would feel I am sure is he frustration that Jesus had and continues to have as we debate the teachings of God. When you try to teach to explain something new to someone who is ignorant, you must first meet them where they have knowledge and begin to work your way up together until the understanding is complete. It is a process taking time. For some it is a quick study and for others it may take longer because of obstacles mentally or even physically. It would be completely wrong to describe anyone without knowledge as unintelligent, because their ignorance is not their fault. Ignorance is not a term of intelligence but of access to knowledge.
Imagine yourself explaining our lifestyle and culture to a tribe in the jungles of the Amazon. How would you explain not only your culture but your clothing. Where would you even begin, it is hard to consider because in that case we ourselves are as ignorant of their culture as they are of ours.
This is the uniqueness of Jesus, and the redemptive story we teach as Followers of Christ. How would God the creator of the universe and everything in it explain to His creatures, what life with Him looks like, feels like, and is? For generations He would speak to and through people, He set up a nation among nations to be the beacon of hope and redemption. The problem with prophets and priests is that we speak of heavenly things from human experience.
Jesus is different. Jesus, the Word of God, brought the knowledge and understanding of God to mankind. Yet even Jesus had use human language to teach about things beyond human understanding. What is the Kingdom of God or Heaven? It is like this: “a man goes out and scatters seed.” If you were to speak about America you may begin by saying something to the effect of America is like…
It is easiest to speak of unknown things, is to take a commonly known point and using it to build the teaching. For Jesus the commonly know topics are concepts of agriculture and horticulture. someone scatters seed. That is like the kingdom? No that is the start. As a farmer I know what happens with seeds. We have seeds scattered out in the Willow Creek Garden, something amazing happens. Something begins to happen, something a first century person could not explain. The seed grows.
Today we have observed and recorded what happens to a seed, we have studied the life cycle of them. We know the seed size does not determine anything of true value, but what is of value is what is inside. Inside there is a spark of life, when the conditions are right the correct temperature and moisture, a sprout emerges. It pushes up and always up, because it knows that it must go the opposite direction of the pull of gravity. It pushes through the soil as the rocks tear away the lays of the outer shell until its leave open up into the light.
It is a miraculous story, a story of passion and trial and all we see is a little tufts of green. The kingdom of God is like scattered seeds. These seed grow, they continue to push against gravity reaching higher into the sky while just below the surface roots push through the soils anchoring the plant into the ground while at the same time seeking out the smallest deposits of water. These roots can bore into the hardest mountain face, and find water in the driest of deserts. A plant begins as a little seed yet it dwells in not one but two very different worlds. The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed
As these men and women listen to the words of Jesus they begin to see something new. They did not realize the kingdom of God is not just one-sided. Their concept of heaven and hell, life and death were not exactly well-defined. They had heard about the kingdom but in their mind the kingdom was one that was earthly. Yet here Jesus says the kingdom of God is like scattered seeds. There is more to a seed the seed is a mystery. It dwells in the heavens and in the depths of the earth. The kingdom of God is like a seed.
The purpose of a seed is to grow. It grows up from the ground rises toward the sun for one purpose, to bear fruit. Some plants cycle of life is short, only for a single season, it quickly rises reproduces and dies. Wheat is one of these seeds. These plants provide the staples of life. it Produces such an abundance that not only will it produce new plants but will feed birds and provide bread, potatoes, and tomatoes for humans to eat. One seed is the beginning of the food chain. This seed can begin to feed the world. Then there are other seeds that grow for a long period of time, they can continuously produce fruit season after season, year after year. They branch out providing shelter for the birds and animals that the minor seeds fed, and when they die their bodies can be used to house and furnish the homes of many. The Kingdom of Heaven is like a seed.
One seed, a simple seed a piece of life that we may consider insignificant yet this one seed holds the answer to the meaning of life. We have a purpose, we are meant to exist in two worlds, we are to grow and produce fruit while at the same time anchoring our lives deep into the earth to withstand the trials of life. we are to take pleasure in the light of the day, and seek out food and drink in the dark dirt. The Kingdom of God is like a seed.
There is more to life than just the here and now, there is more to our existence than the distant future. We were designed to grow, reach out and up, to bear fruit. We were made to dig in get dirty, shelter, clothe, and feed the world. We were made to reach our branches high into the sky to praise the God who set the universe in motion. The kingdom of God is like scattered seeds.
We are made to grow, reproduce, and to pass what we have on to others. I do not know if you have noticed but there are many types of seeds, many types of reasons for those seeds to grow. Just the other day I heard a news report that was speaking of the wonders of one type of plant that has been used to heal illness for centuries. It has cure sore muscles, headaches, it can help prevent a heart attack or stroke, and recently can prevent some forms of cancer. This seed grows into a tree and from its bark the medicine know as aspirin is found. One tree, one seed, and the kingdom of God is like scattered seeds.
We are each unique, we have different passions and desires. Different strengths and weaknesses. But we each have a vital place in the kingdom. Some of us are doctors providing relieve and healing like the willow tree, while others of us may have a more common role like wheat, feeding the masses. Some of us were made to create beautiful works of art like the countless varieties of wildflowers. Some of us bring pleasure and happiness to others like a cherry on top of a sundae. Some are hearty, sound, and strong like an oak to protect others from the storms of life, but none of us are all things. We need all types of seeds scattered throughout our communities each to grow into their own selves and produce what the are meant to produce.
One seed, can do the miraculous just by doing what they are meant to do. Each seed growing out of their purpose can sustain the world. Jesus came to tell us this. The Kingdom of God is like a scattered seed doing what it was designed to do. Growing deep in the earth and reaching up into the heavens. If a seed only reaches down into the earth it dies of starvation, if it only reaches up it dies because there is no root system. We were made to exist in two realms the earth and the heavens. But we are like seeds blindly sprouting in the darkness of the dirt. Jesus came to Give us the way to heavens. He is the light we desire and reach for, He is also the water and nourishment we seek in the soil. He came not only to save our souls but to restore our purpose. to connect heaven and earth, to connect creation to the creator, to bridge the temporal and the spiritual.
The kingdom of God is like scattered seeds. As we enter this time of open worship and holy expectancy consider the world around you, are we connecting it to God or are we focused too much on ourselves? Consider the world around you are you focusing too much on God and neglecting the world that is suffering around you? We are seeds here to feed, beautify, protect, heal, and bring pleasure to the world and to encourage those around us to lift up their arms in praise. What kind of seed are you, and are you growing?