Scattered Seeds – Meaning you may have missed in the stories Jesus told

Young Plant

As a child I would often be invited by my mother to do gardening with her. I was anything but interested. Playing in the dirt was one thing, but gardening was not on my list of fun things. So I opted for playing with the water hose and watching cartoons. I had no interest in seeds. Besides, everything I ever planted seemed to die. Luckily, Jesus had a different perspective.

As a child I would often be invited by my mother to do gardening with her. I was anything but interested. Playing in the dirt was one thing, but gardening was not on my list of fun things. So I opted for playing with the water hose and watching cartoons. I had no interest in seeds. Besides, everything I ever planted seemed to die. Luckily, Jesus had a different perspective.

“A farmer went out to sow his seed,” Jesus began to speak from the boat, His audience so thick that He had to teach out in the water. The people sat around the shore and listened intently,
immediately seeing themselves in the story—farming was familiar. Their hands had roughened from field labor. Their shoulders could identify with the weight of the bags carrying seed. Jesus continued, “As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate them 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 seeds fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where they produced a crop” (Matthew 13:3-8, NIV).1

I can imagine that those listening were empathetic with the farmer who had lost his seeds to birds, heat, and weeds. But I also wonder if they questioned the farmer’s gardening skills. This farmer did not seem to be intentional about where he was throwing his precious seeds. Maybe he should have inspected the fields better. Maybe he should have buried the seeds deeper. His methods may have seemed unorthodox, but this story may have a missed meaning for us.

In this parable we usually like to take the role of the sower. We like to be the ones sprinkling seeds of gospel, spreading Christ throughout the unpredictable soil of the world. We like to be the farmer. But what if we aren’t? What if we aren’t the ones in control of spreading the seed, but instead we are the seeds—people being spread by God, the heavenly farmer, across various circumstances with the expectation for us to grow where we are. Like the seeds, we may find ourselves scattered in hard situations, questioning the farmer’s planting skills. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve cried out to God, asking, “What are you doing with me?” From our limited ground perspective, the world may seem like rocky, weed-infested soil. Yet, with what looks like unorthodox methods to us, there is a skilled and patient farmer scattering us exactly where He needs us.

God wants us to produce fruit wherever we are. However, if we have not allowed ourselves to be rooted in Christ, our spirits can wither under the heat of the scorching sun of our trials. The thorns and weeds of bills, relationships, balancing life, and demanding jobs threaten to choke out the fruit of the spirit budding inside. Often we want character growth and development, but not at the cost of self-sacrifice or discomfort. Christ’s Object Lessons says this: “The life must be cast into the furrow of the world’s need. Self-love, self-interest must perish. But the law of self-sacrifice is the law of self-preservation.”2 We may look at our situations and ask, “Why was I planted here?” However, Jesus wants us to grow where we are scattered. He promises that the seeds He sows will not be in vain, but will grow and flourish in peace. (Isaiah 55:10-13).

  Maybe, like the parable, birds have come and snatched a seed from your life. You may have lost a loved one to violence, cancer, or tragedy. History has cast us into many difficult furrows. Although we have found ourselves scattered among the gravel of slavery, buried under poverty, and choked out by injustice, we have the option to change our perspective. A perspective modeled after the life of Jesus. There is hope. The Master farmer wants to do something in you, where you are. We can be like the seeds in the parable that were eaten, burned, and buried, or we can choose to be like Christ who grew where He was planted, dying to self and dying for us, under the worst conditions.Planting seed in soil

Ripe & Ready

Historically, societies don’t reach their full technological, economic, and political potential until after they first master the art of sowing and reaping crops, according to science historian Jared Diamonds book, Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies.

Likewise, we don’t develop full spiritual potential until connecting with Jesus to reap spiritual fruit (John 15:5). That fruit includes knowing God, obeying His commands, and having a loving and good character (Matthew 7:15-27; Galatians 5:22,23; Ephesians 5:9).

As an adult I have come to respect my mother’s gardening skills and her ability to grow things in various types of soil. And now, I have a deeper respect for gardens, and God the sower, who scatters seeds and patiently waits for the results in our lives. God can, and will, do incredible things in our lives if we would submit ourselves to grow where we are scattered.

Texts credited to NIV are from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright  © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

2 Ellen G. White, Christ’s Object Lessons (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1900), p. 86.

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Kimberly Pearson, is a chaplain in the office of spiritual affairs at Oakwood University in Huntsville, Alabama.

If you were to take a personal inventory of some of your best days, you would realize that there were some truly joyous days that you have experienced. Maybe it is a golden moment from your childhood, or the moment you met the one you were to be with the rest of your life, or even some academic or occupational accomplishment that you longed for. Whatever it may be, we find in Scripture a very sobering lesson from the one called Jesus Christ.

Day 1 -Read Matthew 13:10-13.

Jesus spoke in parables for spiritual and practical reasons. For this study we will focus on the practical reason. Jesus intentionally used examples that His hearers would run into on an everyday basis. He often started with “The kingdom of heaven . . .” and in that moment made the link between the everyday and the kingdom of heaven. Have you had an experience that seemed to have nothing to do with God but taught you so much about Him? We would love to hear about it. Please tell us about it via roundedinstagram Instagram, roundedfacebook Facebook,
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Day 2 -Read Matthew 13:18,19.

This is one of the few parables for which Jesus gives a detailed explanation. He starts off talking about the seed sown in the road. He says that when one does not understand, that is when it is snatched from them. Have you ever heard a message that was from God that literally made no sense to you? Have you ever been in a place where it seemed everyone was being blessed but you? Tell us about it here at Message. We want to know how it made you feel. Were you disappointed? confused? How did you respond? Please tell us about it via roundedinstagram Instagram, roundedfacebook Facebook,
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Day 3

It may seem intimidating to think that something that wonderful can be snatched. I find that while being cognizant of spiritual opposition I can focus on the love of God in Jesus. I encourage you to watch this video on roundedyoutube YouTube entitled “In the Words of Satan.” It will start off in an unorthodox way, but stick with it—I’m sure you’ll be blessed: 

Day 4 -Read Matthew 13:20, 21

Jesus is dealing with the fickleness of churchgoers and those who claim to be followers. He points out that some will receive His word with “joy,” but when the honeymoon of spiritual high wears off, and the rubber meets the road, they fall off.  Implicit in His words is that “trouble” in the life of a Christian tests the depth of his or her relationship. It is easy to be in jubilee in times of comfort, but the fortitude of your relationship is tried in “trouble.” Has there been a troubling but transformative time in your life that amazed even you? Would you be comfortable sharing with us? Has the progress God mapped out for you ever caught you off guard? How did you respond? Please tell us about it on  roundedinstagram Instagram, roundedfacebook Facebook, 

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Day 5

Go through this list of Bible texts and write out any comparison to your life. Let us know if they are too good to be true, or so good they’ve got to be true!

James 1:2

Psalm 34:1

Philippians 4:4

Day 6 - Read Luke 14:21-24

A friend of mine forwarded me a video from roundedyoutube YouTube entitled “Skit Guys—God’s Chisel Remastered.” Sometimes we need an inspired reminder that we are a work in progress. Even in that process we are God’s original masterpiece. Be blessed 

Day 7 -Read Matthew 13:22

Former hip-hop artist turned evangelist Ivor Myers once said in a sermon that “for every authentic there is a counterfeit.” It is a well-known device of the devil to take the blessings of God and make them a curse to us. When we get the example of the thorns, Jesus explains “the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word.” Life and wealth are blatant blessings of God, but they have become tools of constriction. Have you seen in your own life where the blessings have morphed into burdens? Answered prayer transformed into distractions? Write out a list of what God has blessed you with and evaluate if maybe something on that list is eclipsing God. We at Message would love to see your list. Share it with us via roundedinstagram Instagram, roundedfacebook Facebook, 

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We at Message believe that God wants all to fall on “good soil.” We believe that Jesus promises that the Word will not return unto Him void. Whether we are the sowers, reapers, or receivers of the gospel, know that the outcome is in the Lord’s hands. That means that we need not be self-conscious or insecure about the outcome, because it’s a refection on Him and not us. It also means the glory fully belongs to Him and not the dispensers of His message of grace. Let us give glory to the only One to whom it is due.  

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Rashad Burden is associate youth pastor at the Buckhead Fellowship church, in Atlanta, Georgia.

 

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*Scriptures quotations credited to NIV are from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Rashad Burden is an associate pastor for youth at the Buckhead Fellowship chruch in Buckhead, Georgia.

 

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