Let me share a parable for planting time. Jesus told his disciples,
“This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.” (Mark 4:26-29, NIV 2011)
Jesus shares a truth here that farmers and gardeners know. We can do everything possible to get the soil ready, to plant good seed, to fertilize, to make the conditions just right, but there is something that happens in the growth of crops that is outside of our control. As Paul says to the Church in Corinth, “God makes it grow.”
That’s how the kingdom is, too. When we think about our faith as individuals, and we think about our collective work as a congregation. We can work to make the conditions just right, but God brings the harvest. Let me suggest three ways that we can prepare our personal lives for God to work in our lives.
First, it’s important for us to spend time in silence before God. Our lives are busy and filled with noise. It’s in times of silence that we can become aware of God’s presence. This is like preparing the soil. Secondly, we need to spend time in God’s Word. There is always more for us to learn. This is like planting good seed. Thirdly, we need to spend time with other believers. Part of our spiritual development is building heart-level relationships with other believers. Call this fertilizing, if you want, but it’s making sure that we have good perspective on our lives and the world around us. None of these things will cause spiritual growth, but they will prepare us to experience the growth that God brings.
Remember that next week Ervin Stutzman, the executive director of the MC USA, will be making a presentation and having a Q and A time during our adult Sunday School class. The Epic of Scripture series will resume on April 17. The 17th is also our Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? So don’t forget.