And He was saying, The kingdom of God is like a man who casts seed upon the soil; and he goes to bed at night and gets up by day, and the seed sprouts and grows — how, he himself does not know. The soil produces crops by itself; first the blade, then the head, then the mature grain in the head. But when the crop permits, he immediately puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come. Mark 4.26-29
Jesus reminds us through this parable that the results of our labor lie not within ourselves and are not dependent on what we do – the power is in the seed. As everyone who lives in our part of the country knows, it takes time for the crop to develop. The parable emphasizes the principle of cooperation and patience; if we do our part, the seed will work its power and produce life.
Not every seed sown will germinate. Just as the sower broadcast the seed across various soil types, so the gospel will fall upon deaf and careless ears just as certainly as it will be heard by those who will readily receive it into their hearts. Scripture affirms that God’s Word will not return to Him void (Isaiah 55.11). We are the planters and waterers in God’s field; the results, the increase are in His hands (1 Corinthians 3.6).
You men who work the fields are demonstrating a parable. You’ve recently finished planting, and look at your fields. The seeds have sprouted, sent up their first shoots – now begins the weeks of watching, watering, working, and waiting for the crop to mature and produce its fruit – but don’t you still marvel at the wonder of it? How does that little seed do it?
The same wonder and faith apply to the Kingdom. We don’t have to understand how growth is going to occur before we begin our work of planting. Faith comes from hearing and hearing by the Word of Christ (Romans 10.17). It is God’s Word through the Spirit that convicts the world concerning sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16.8). God’s Word is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Hebrews 4.12). Jesus called that Word a “seed” to remind us that the power is in the seed and not the sower.
As we look out across the fields of maturing wheat and freshly sown corn, let’s think about these principles of seed growth, because it’s easy to become discouraged or frustrated at what appears to be lack of growth or progress. Let’s remember the Lord’s assurance that if we cast the seed upon the soil, the seed will sprout and grow.
So then, let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary (Galatians 6.9).