“Jesus also said, ‘The Kingdom of God is like a farmer who scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, while he’s asleep or awake, the seed sprouts and grows, but he does not understand how it happens. The earth produces the crops on its own. First a leaf blade pushes through, then the heads of wheat are formed, and finally the grain ripens. And as soon as the grain is ready, the farmer comes and harvests it with a sickle, for the harvest time has come.’” – Mark 4:26-29
Mike touched on this parable a little bit on Sunday, and what he shared is that this parable is less about what the farmer does not do and more about what God can do. How very true!
But, is there maybe something more to this parable as well? The Kingdom of God… what exactly does that refer to? John Piper defines it as “God’s reign – His sovereign action in the world to redeem and deliver a people and then at a future time finish it and renew His people and the universe completely.”
Looking at that definition, maybe there is an add-on to what Mike said: that no matter what we do, God’s reign, His ultimate plan for His people and His Universe, will be completed as He has deemed it will. We can either choose to be part of that plan or to not be part of it. Whether or not we are actively participating in His plan if He calls us to do so, it will still be completed according to His design. And that sometimes may involve some atypical events.
So, what do I mean? If you grew up in the church, you may be very familiar with the story of Joseph, the much beloved son of Jacob who was sold by his brothers to traders who then sold him as a slave in Egypt. Not exactly the best situation. But, God used this seemingly unfortunate series of events in his life by allowing Joseph to utilize the gift of interpreting dreams to help Pharaoh to understand that there would be seven years of plentiful harvests followed by seven years of famine. This helped the nation of Egypt to prepare for the famine and eventually led to Joseph being reunited with his family.
Let’s look at another one that may even be more familiar. Jesus, after performing many miracles and preaching to thousands of people, was crucified on the cross. The people who called for His death were the very ones He came to save – God’s people, Israel. But out of this tragic event, salvation came for the whole world. Certainly, the people who called for His death had no idea what it would lead to.
In both of these situations, God used events that on the surface did not seem good for His ultimate plan. No, it doesn’t matter for the end of the story whether we listen and step into where God calls us to go – what He wants to happen will happen. But, it does matter to Him whether we follow His call from the standpoint of the reconciliation of our hearts. The question that you want to ask yourself after reading this parable just may be, “Will I just let God’s reign and rule happen without my cooperation and willingness?” I can, but I most certainly shouldn’t!
Yes, we can plant seeds and walk away from them. God will still allow to happen what He has designed. But, if He does call us back to water, fertilize and pull the weeds so those seeds can grow and produce a plant ready for harvest, in order to keep our hearts aligned with God’s will, we should certainly follow His call!