July 22, 2012

The Seed would Sprout and Grow


In farming or gardening and in ministry there can be a long time between planting the seed (see previous post) and harvest. Even when the first hopeful sprout pops through the ground, there’s a lot of growing to do. Jesus said the Farmer “would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how.” (Mark 4:27)
When I was a child I was given a book of poems (which was sadly water damaged years ago and had to be thrown away) that included one that stuck with me all these year about sprouting and growing, even when conditions don't seem to be perfect.
The tiny crocus is so bold
It peeps its head above the mould,
Before the flowers awaken,
To say that spring is coming, dear,
With sunshine and that winter drear
Will soon be overtaken.
All I can ever remember are the first couple of lines, but a Google search surprised me by providing the rest of the poem, the author (Lizzy Lawson), and a list of other of her poems that I remember from that little book! (Amazing thing-the internet!) I even found this image of the cover of that book! You can see that the book was probably published around the late 1800’s and it was old when I got it, but at 5 years old it was one of my favorites. Don’t some things just bring back memories of childhood…? However, I digress.
Some plants, like the bold little crocus, are strong and courageous and don’t wait for perfect conditions. Others need just the right moisture and temperature to sprout and grow. Even then, there is care like watering and weeding to keep the little plants healthy and growing. Botonists can explain what happens below ground and how a seed germinates and sprouts, but in reality the growth is a miracle and we, like the farmer do not know how it happens.
Similarly, in ministry, you can read books (or blogs) on how to do or start a ministry, but there is still a lot of work and faith involved. There comes a lot of patiently waiting for God’s plan to emerge. Some ministry, like the crocus, seems to spring up without much work at all and other ministry takes a lot of encouragement. Whichever kind of ministry you find yourself involved in, remember that as the hymn by Arthur Ainger says:
God is working His purpose out
As year succeeds to year;

God is working his purpose out,
And the time is drawing near;
Nearer and nearer draws the time,
The time that shall surely be,
When the earth shall be filled
With the glory of God
As the waters cover the sea.
Jesus said the Farmer didn’t know how the growth happened. We don’t know how or when our ministry will grow or what the end result will be. What we do know is that God IS working through our efforts to bring harvest. Like the Farmer, it is our duty to be faithful with the planting and the cultivating while we wait for the harvest.

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