Sunday, 16 July 2017

Sowing seed for life

The old saying is that we reap what we sow in life.  So what is it that you sow or have sown during your life?  Looking back we often find that we have regrets somewhat like Esau, who sold his birthright (Gen 25.32-33), had later in life.  Ours may not have been as great a foolishness but looking back it often rankles and hurts.  Yet, sometimes what we perceive to be a disaster is what God is asking of us as he plants a seed to mature in the time to come.  Retrospective looks back in time are said to be 100% and that is how we learn.  Yet the ramifications from our regrets may actually be positive in the lives of others.

In the parable that Christ sets up in Matthew's gospel (13.1-), the sower does not appear to understand what it is that he is doing.  Seed appears to be scattered willy nilly all over the place.  Some falling here and other times some falling there.  Surely, one has to ask, the sower should be a little more deterministic when it comes to the scattering of the seed.  If we want a good harvest we must direct the seed into good ground.  There is no point in scattering it around.  I would have fired the sower, if it was my farm, I want a good yield not a bit of this and a bit of that (100% or nothing).  That is how we operate in today's world.  No matter what we do the expectation is that the out put of our work will be beneficial to the company for whom we work.  I suspect in earlier times the same would also be the case especially with regards to the distribution of valuable seed. In looking at the church or the parish in terms of what we do, a recent trend has been to emphasise mission based programs.  We are told you have to do this, or you must do this or this is where you will achieve growth in the church, follow this evangelistic method / program / etc.

Do we know what seed we have sown?

God does not work with programs, God works with the world the way God wants the world to be.  God calls us into difference not sameness.  Each programme of evangelism that is promoted is looking for sameness not difference.  God determines where the seed should fall, by placing all our seed into the one basket of programme evangelism we deny God access to the fruits of the seed.  Our evangelistic programme may well be scattering the seed on a well trodden path that does not allow for it to grow.  I suspect that more often than not, this is precisely what is happening; we continue to sow good seed onto the well trodden paths of human expectations only to find it trodden under foot.  It is only when we allow God to direct the sower of the seed that we begin to see the fruits of God's labour.  We talk of good and bad ground as if these were dualistic opposites.  Perhaps yesterday's poor ground maybe today's good soil as God directs the seed and the growth.

Paul reckons us to live on the level of the Spirit not on the level of what has gone before (Rom 8.5-6) when we live in Christ.  Yet we tend to live in the world and ignore Christ except as a passing whisper or throw away line.  If something has achieved good results elsewhere then surely it will achieve remarkable results here in this place all it requires is the 'minister' to put in the energy.  Or if what has worked in the past should be re-iterated, again and again and again, then we will achieve the same results now as then.  In undertaking these thoughts we actually undermine God. We are second guessing where the seed that the farmer has granted to us through grace is to be planted by our knowledge not by the farmers understanding of the fields to be sown and then reaped.  Only when we understand that it is by allowing God's hand in our work for God that we achieve the remarkable. It is not in following previous things or other programmes as these may not be what God is calling us to in the present.  In living into the Spirit we live into Christ and we allow Christ's guiding light to be ever present in our hearts.  We go where Christ wills not where we will.

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