Growing plants from seed can be very rewarding. Take tomatoes for example. The seeds, some potting compost, small plastic flower pots and a bowl to stand them in, are the main ingredients. The instructions say that they should be
covered (a plastic bag will do), kept reasonably warm and the compost must be moist. Nothing seems to happen for a couple of weeks, then the first shoots appear. Now the leaves require sunlight so they must be brought near a window, and then the shoots and leaves grow. After a few more days the seedlings are separated into individual pots and following some more growth they are ready to plant out in a greenhouse.
This whole process never ceases to amaze me. The apparently dry and inert seeds turn into a plant which may reach a height of four or more feet, and produce fruit which, freshly picked, tastes that little bit better than anything you can buy in the shops.
The Bible has a lot to say about seeds and fruit.
In Matthew 13 Jesus tells a parable about seed sown in four different types of ground. In this story the seed is the gospel message and the different types of ground are the hearers. This is one of the better known parables and every Christian identifies him or herself with the good ground – after all, haven’t they already responded positively to the message.
But the parable is full of warnings too, for the seed falling on shallow soil showed rapid growth and would have seemed a very promising seedling. But there was no depth and when difficulties arose the plant did not survive. (The full sun was not always so welcome in Israel as it is here!).
Similarly, growing in weed ridden soil resulted in the plants being choked. In the materially focussed world of today, Christians must always be on their guard against falling into this trap, too.
Finally we see that the seed growing in good soil produces fruit, and this is the message to us today. For Christians, not all the fruit is the same, in quantity or type. Our Lord does not call us or expect us all to be great preachers, theologians or missionaries to distant lands – He calls us to faithfully listen to His call and produce fruit in the situation He has placed us. After all, the neighbour down the street is in as much need of the gospel message as the man living in the nearly impenetrable jungle of a far-off land.
Paul writing to the Corinthians put it like this:
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain. I Cor 15 v.58 (NIV)
We have the certainty that faithful work for the Lord will bear eternal fruit. May God bless your work for Him.