And He said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”
The man does not know how the seed grows, but that doesn’t seem to stress him out. In fact, it seems to create a healthy rhythm of work and rest in his life. He seems to know when it is time to sow, and when it is time to rest.
It is so easy to fall into the trap of working when we should rest and resting when we should work. Our lives can be out of sync, if we lack the rhythms of grace. We can create cycles of condemnation in our lives where we are constantly working for our righteousness, or constantly trying to create Kingdom growth from our own efforts when we could just plant the seed. Or, when we have planted the seed, instead of trusting that what Jesus has promised will happen, we are out digging up the seeds we planted with our stress and worry—checking to see if the seeds are working. Whenever we dig up the seed, we never let it die and come to life. Unless a seed falls to the ground and dies it will never bear fruit (see John 12:24). It is in dying to our fears, our selfishness, our efforts, our patterns and our worries that the seed will have the chance to take root in our lives.
Jesus has given us a great rhythm to live by, a great pattern of grace allowing us no longer to conform to the patterns of this world. This man in the parable discovered that seed grows all by itself. Once he saw the growth, his rhythm was set. He could rest and trust that the seed will do the work. The power is inside the seed, not inside our works. This is not talking about being lazy in our lives or work. In fact we will have more energy and life for all the good works that God has called us to when we stop working for our identity and worth. The energy we conserve while resting can now be used for more sowing of seed into other lives, into our cities and churches.
Don’t dig up the seed. Stay planted. Stay in faith. Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus.
// Pastor Josh Kelsey