Spring is just about two weeks away. As we get closer to enjoying warmer weather, one thing that I’m (secretly) excited about is working on the lawn again. There’s something manly about having a well-maintained lawn. That may sound ridiculous, but if you’ve ever maintained a lawn and you’re a man, you know what I’m talking about. Imagine plush, bright green, thick lawn. The kind that’s strong enough to play football on but soft enough to protect a child.
Such lawn doesn’t come easy. It requires just the right amount of seeding, watering, fertilizing, and mowing at just the right time of year. When I moved into my home 5 years ago, that was a project that I just couldn’t wait to get started on. The yard that I inherited was embarassing. It was a mess. It was full of weeds, rocks, and dead patches. There were large sections of my backyard that looked like the Mojave. It was a bit overwhelming. It was far from the picturesque backyards that I’ve seen on HGTV. But I was determined. I was intent on restoring this yard.
And so I cleared out the weeds. I tilled the soil. I scattered seeds. I watered. And I waited. And waited. And waited.
The results weren’t what I had expected. Some sections grew while others didn’t. Some areas were dense while others remained sparse. Some grass was high and some barely came out of the soil.
I didn’t understand why. I had done the same work for all the areas. Seed was evenly spread throughout. I had watered regularly. Yet the results varied. And so I repeated the steps, hoping for better results the second time around. Sadly there was no change and it left me wanting to give up.
This is a lot like the seed of the gospel.
“[Jesus] also said, “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)
Believing this truth leads us to some important realizations:
- Our call is simply to be faithful in scattering seeds – sharing the gospel through our words and life. And yet it germinates mysteriously. We may plant seeds, we may water it, but we have no control over its growth. The growth of the seed has nothing to do with the sower.
- We must remember that the Kingdom is indeed God’s. In His wisdom, grace, and righteousness, he decides which seeds will sprout and grow.
- Frustration or discouragement from a lack of life transformation in others is the result of a prideful view of our own role in such transformation. Jesus says, “whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows…” Let us be careful not to be dependent on ourselves for things we cannot do.
- The truth of the gospel – that Jesus demonstrated his holiness, love, justice, righteousness, humility, mercy and grace by dying on the cross, being buried, and resurrecting from the dead for our sins so that we may live life in restored relationship with the Father, glorifying and delighting in Him forever – is the power of God for salvation. Not you or I.
As we continue to persevere in praying for people by name, let’s remember and find comfort in God’s sovereignty over the souls of men.