Each one of us has some kind of seeds to scatter, whether they are small or large. Each one of us has something to contribute to the betterment of the world.
By Karin Wells
See this box?
This box is full of seed packets that have been sitting around in my garage for several years. In February this box of seeds started calling out to me.
“Hey, Karin, are you still there? We dare you to scatter us in your garden this spring. Since you’re graduating in May, you’ll have lots of time. You won’t have any excuses about being too busy.”
So while the snow was still flying, and while I was still commuting back and forth to classes in Chicago, the seeds became my traveling companions. We actually enjoyed several in-depth conversations.
Now if that wasn’t enough, in one of my preaching classes, one of the assignments was to recite a memorized passage from the Bible. So I looked through my Bible and was trying to get inspired. And then this passage from Mark, that you heard Nancy read, captured my imagination. Interestingly enough this parable is only found in Mark.
Let’s listen to this parable again – “Jesus said further, ‘The reign of God is like this: a sower scatters seed on the ground, then goes to bed at night and gets up day after day. Through it all – the seed sprouts and grows up without the sower knowing how it happens.
The soil produces a crop by itself – first the blade, then the ear, and finally the ripe wheat in the ear. When the crop is ready, the sower wields the sickle, for the time is ripe for harvest.’”
The seeds applauded with approval. And before I knew it I was living out this parable. I am still living it out today.
“Hey Karin,” the seeds asked me one day, “Why is the realm of God connected with seeds?”
I thought about it. Maybe it is because there is a diversity of seeds in the world. Being a researcher, I decided to do a little research. I found out there are over 400,000 different kinds of seeds, 400,000 different kinds. As we all know from our experiences with seeds, we know they come in a wide variety of colors, shapes, and sizes.
The smallest seeds are from orchids – like the orchids you might see for sale at Hy-Vee, Copps, or Home Depot. This metal spoon here weighs about one ounce. But guess what? The seeds of the orchid are so tiny that it takes 35 million, 35 million, seeds to weigh the one ounce of this spoon – 35 million seeds.
Now, the largest seed, that comes from the sea coconut. That seed weighs about 40 pounds. That is the size of some of the four and five year olds here in our congregation. The seeds were telling me that diversity matters in the realm of God.
Each one of us has some kind of seeds to scatter, whether they are small or large. Each one of us has something to contribute to the betterment of the world. So next time you think your seeds are too small to make a difference– remember the tiny orchid seed.
“Hey Karin, it’s your friends again, the seeds. Why is the realm of God connected with seeds?”
I thought about it some more. Maybe it is because seeds remain viable for many, many years. Cucumber seed last three years. Broccoli seed five years. Tomato seed eight years. Wheat seed 200 years. Date Palm seed 2,000 years. The Seeds of our Judeo-Christian heritage, those are over 5,000 years old.
“Good,” the seeds told me one day, “You’ve learned something about the diversity and viability of seeds, but it’s May now. Are you going to scatter us?”
I was intrigued. It would be really amazing if these old seeds did sprout and grow up. I wondered if I should give them a chance. Or should I throw them away and get some new seeds?
I looked in the box. Many of the seeds in this box are over five years old.
There are even ones that are over ten years old. Well, I did decide to to plant them. To my delight and to my astonishment almost all of them sprouted.
“Hey Karin, it’s us seeds again.” This time, they phrased the question differently, “Why is the reign of God like this? A sower scatters seed on the ground, then goes to bed at night and gets up day after day.”
Now, when I decided to plant these seeds I thought it would be really, really amazing, if these seeds did sprout and develop. But now I realize I didn’t whole-heartedly embrace the power of that possibility. I let my skepticism and my tentativeness overtake my initial intrigue.
So instead of scattering the seeds in a way that would have allowed each individual seed the opportunity to sprout and grow, I planted the seeds in a half-hearted and controlling way.
Despite the dare I heard from the seeds to scatter them, despite the words of Jesus that the realm of God is like a sower who scatters seeds, I thought there really was no way that all of the seeds would sprout, or even that half of them would sprout. So instead of scattering them, I planted them in a way that led to their confinement and over- crowding.
So even though I have been enjoying an intermittent harvest beyond my wildest dreams, I am realizing through my ongoing conversations with the seeds, that I need to believe even more in the power of God. By planting the seeds instead of scattering them, I have missed out. I have missed out on a lot of goodness.
I have missed out on the overwhelming bounty of what the harvest would have been. I should have scattered the seeds and then went to bed and not worried about what was going to happen. I shouldn’t have tried to control the outcome in some way. I should have trusted more that each seed was in God’s hands.
So in the midst of all the turmoil going on here in Madison and the whole wide world, let us realize that God is waiting for each of us. Just as God was waiting for me to get these seeds out and scatter them, God is waiting for us to scatter all of the skills, talents, and gifts that God has given us.
The world so desperately needs all of our seeds. The imperishable seeds that God has given us are waiting, waiting, to be scattered. They’re waiting to be scattered in a whole- hearted way. Not in some selective, controlling, skeptical way; or not in a way where we scatter them only among the people who agree with us; or not in a way where we scatter them only among the people who we think love us.
Our job is to get our seeds of love, compassion, inclusivity, and ingenuity out of our garages and start scattering them, scattering them, with abandon. If we would only do so, imagine the overwhelmingly bounty we would experience.