We are hardly onto the month of January, and the "seed" catalogues are already arriving in the mail. With the weather we've been experiencing, it's almost appropriate.
Those catalogs stirred an association -- an association with the parable of the sower. You will remember that seed was scattered over a piece of ground having a variety of growing conditions. Growth (or the lack of) resulted from the conditions rather than the quality of the seed. Some seed could not even germinate. Some germinated but withered or was choked out. Some flourished.
You will also remember that this was one of those parables for which Jesus explained the meaning.
11 "This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13 Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. 14 The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life's worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. 15 But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop. Luke 8:11-15 (NIV)
Charles Hadden Spurgeon, one of the most powerful preachers of all time, wrote in his devotional Morning and Evening:
"My soul, examine yourself this morning by the light of this text. You have received the word with joy; your feelings have been stirred and a lively impression has been made; but, remember, that to receive the word in the ear is one thing, and to receive Jesus into thy very soul is quite another; superficial feeling is often joined to inward hardness of heart, and a lively impression of the word is not always a lasting one."
Spurgeon rightly understood the importance of nurturing the seed. Farmers spend the growing season trying to maximize the yield -- shouldn't we resolve to do the same with the seed God plants in us. Shouldn't we resolve not to let the seed be trampled by the world or "eaten" by the devil? Shouldn't we resolve not to let the weeds of worry or worldly agendas choke the germinating seed. Shouldn't we resolve not to let the seedlings wither because of lack of care (inattention to Scripture and relationship with God through Christ)?
The future is filled with uncertainty. We usually face uncertainty by trying to impose the desired outcome. What we can't do we entrust to those who promise they can (a review of history will reveal the error of doing that). Jesus reminds us that we can trust God, and that persevering in the word will insure success.
May 2012 see us resolved to stand on the promises of God so that the world will yield -- grace and blessings for us, and a rich harvest for the Kingdom.