Spring Planting

Spring Planting – The Farmer

Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering his seed, some fell along the path and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop – a hundred, sixty, or thirty times what was sown. Matthew 13:3-8 ESV

During the winter I used to scan through seed catalogues and plan for spring planting. Then on a blank sheet of paper I would draw the garden and decide where to put the cucumbers and squash and tomato plants. Jesus tells a story of a farmer who like me had decided what seed to plant, where to plant it and the exact day to put them in the soil. He left his house with a bag of the precious seed to begin his day’s work. As he started up the hard path some seed spilled out and as it bounced on the hard ground the birds began to follow him and gobble them up. Once he arrived, he tried to evenly spread the seeds in the furrows but even though the plowed field looked beautiful and clean, underneath the surface there were hidden rocks in some places and thorn and thistle seeds in others.

The same story happens every Sunday in our churches. We all hear the same sermon, but the message has different results depending on how we listen. But our problem is not with the farmer or the seed! The difference at harvest time comes from how our field has been prepared. Before we hear even one more sermon maybe our prayer should be, “Oh Lord prepare my heart!”

Meeting Martha

Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. John 11:5 KJV

Once when we were vacationing in Amish country, we decided to take a detour on a back road just for fun. Seeing a farm stand being tended by a little red-haired girl, I parked the car and we got out and began to browse through bins of fresh vegetables, homemade jams, pies and cookies. “Good morning!” I said smiling, while my wife was picking out a bag of cookies. As I went to pay for them, I asked, “And what’s your name?”

“Oh, my name is Martha.” The little girl answered quietly

Strassburg Area

“Well, I ‘ve got good news for you Martha.” I continued. The Bible says that Jesus loved Martha and her sister Mary and her brother, so you can know for sure that he loves you!”

In the children’s song it says, “Jesus loves me this I know; for the Bible tells me so.” Have you ever wondered where the Bible says that?” The answer is that His love is mentioned everywhere! It says, He knit us together before we were born, and He promises to carry us till old age. He is near us when we are broken hearted and gives us strength when we are weak. He gives streams in the desert when we are thirsty and provides daily bread when we are hungry. On every Bible page we can find His love. The song then goes on saying, “Little ones to Him belong.” So, if today you feel as small as the little Martha we met at the farm stand, then you are exactly who Jesus came to love and He is passing by you today!

Far More Than We Deserve

This parable of the vineyard had always held for me the mystery of sunlight shining through fog. I was sure something wonderful was there but couldn’t quite make out exactly what. I once figured that the owner of the vineyard kept retuning for more workers because he didn’t want to lose his harvest. It reminded me of working a hayfield with six of my friends till 2 am. A thunderstorm was rolling in and hay left in the field might be spoiled so we labored till the first drops of rain started falling. But the story of this man returning over and over to the town square till almost quitting time just seemed odd.

Why did he hire men even when it was almost quitting time and why pay them the same as the others? After all the guys who only worked one hour certainly weren’t producing enough to even cover their wage. But then I remembered that when the owner hired those fellows he asked why they were standing around all day and they told him ,”because no one hired us.” They had stayed because they clung to hope even as the afternoon shadows grew longer.

And isn’t that the wonderful depth of the grace of Jesus? He doesn’t come until even the final hours because he cares about hay ruined in his field or grapes left on the vine. He comes over and over looking for us. The lostness of people who no one else wants, who stand abandoned in the town square stirs God’s heart to action! So with whatever few hours we have in His field let’s work with joy, knowing that from the depths of His grace we will receive far more than we deserve on the day we stand before Him!