PRINCIPLE: “When the seeds are plentiful, sow plentifully.”
We Michiganders have had quite a spring. It was somewhat late in coming after a hard, long winter and it took a while to settle in once it came. And, at least along Lake Michigan, it’s cooler than usual because of the extraordinary amount of ice on the lake throughout the winter. But even beyond all that, it’s the seeds. For whatever reason, there was an abundance of Maple seeds last fall (those little helicopter seeds as we called them when we were children.) They fell to the ground in droves and before most of us could rake them up the snow fell – and the rest is history. So this Spring little Maple trees keep popping up everywhere – infiltrating gardens, taking over lawns, shooting up through mulch, plugging up gutters – you name it. Mother nature just sowed way too many seeds; why didn’t she save a few for next year? No matter how many times we mow, or how long we spend plucking them out of the gardens and other places, we’ll never get them all. Of course, some will simply die off. But some will continue to grow and and replenish our yards and forests for years to come. Perhaps its all nature’s way of balancing out her world. Only those future years will tell us.
But it has made me reflect upon Jesus’ familiar Parable of the Sower, recorded in Matthew 13. Jesus said the sower’s seeds fell in four different places, in different types of ‘soiI’ if you will. Only one soil – the good soil – produced anything lasting. I used to think the point of the parable was to remind us to be good soil, receptive to the Word. But at some point I realized that there was perhaps an even more important message. The sower scattered the seed, knowing that not all of it would fall on good soil. Since we have God’s Word, we have rich and abundant seeds to sow. And sow we must. We cannot spend time worrying about where the seeds land. Some will never take root, some will grow only for a while – but some will land in good soil and produce heartily and replenish the Kingdom. God knows we can never sow enough so, through the parable, He reminds us that we are to keep sowing – and know that the seeds that do take root in good soil will produce a hundred, sixty, or thirty times what was sown. Why? Because those in whom the seed grows bountifully will sow more seeds, some of which will produce a hundred, sixty, or thirty times what was sown.
Now I get it. “When the seeds are plentiful, sow plentifully.”We have the richest, most abundant of seeds; but there’s no need to save some for next year. We can never sow too much. There is good soil all around us – some of which we may never recognize – or at least not until, somewhere down the road, we see the growth. Like many farmers, we sow as much for the future as we do for today.
As a preacher I need to remember this. God has given me rich, abundant seed. It’s highly possible that a majority of the seeds I’ve sown fell on unproductive ground. That’s humbling, to say the least. But I take heart that some has taken hold and is producing a hundred, sixty, or thirty times what was sown. That, too, is humbling. All I can do is, “When the seeds are plentiful, sow plentifully.”After all, it was God who said, “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth; It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Is. 55:10-11)
But God doesn’t hold His seed in reserve for preachers. He gives His seed to you as well. You have the Word of God – probably in several editions and translations. How much of the seed have you stored up for later, for another season? How much have you sown? Even more importantly, from here on, how much will you sow? “When the seeds are plentiful, sow plentifully.” Some will land in good soil, produce heartily, and replenish the Kingdom – even up to a hundred fold. Take that you Maple seeds!