Let’s take a look at the seed-planter in this story. The seed-planter is Jesus, and all his followers who want to grow the Kingdom of God. Jesus was a farmer, in a way. We think of Jesus as a carpenter – that was his day job – but he was also a farmer from his heart, his passion. Jesus went walking around his country teaching people about God. It was his kind of farming.
He told stories – threw out the seed. Where did he throw the seed? To anyone who would listen. And he is generous, some might say, careless in throwing the seed. He wants anyone and everyone to hear the story of the Kingdom of God, that it is here, that it is open to anyone to enter, that it is a way of letting go, moving down the social ladder to the place of love, rather than success. Maybe this is why he was so careless with the seed. He knew that the seed of love was inexhaustible, and that there was no need to store it up, have big barns and it was not for sale in the market place anyway. God’s love is not for sale – at any price. So be extravagant with it! As Jesus’ followers, we are called to do what he did – to live in the kingdom of love and kindness, and to invite others to live there too.
He prayed – like watering the seed, asking for God’s life-giving water to help the seeds he had planted that day sprout and grow.
He pruned – only the ones who really wanted to grow got this part of the farmer’s skill. This was only for the ones who grew strong. By pruning, Jesus made sure that each plant was cleaned of it’s extra growth, where it was spending its growth energy on stuff that didn’t matter. I sort of doubt that the plants liked this part. I am pretty sure that I don’t like it when something gets pruned from my life. But remember, this was Jesus’ special attention, given to those who have begun to grow.
All this he did in order to help the young plants put all their energy into the right places, where fruit would be produced. So we don’t need to worry when we have to let go of stuff. Jesus, the farmer is with us, helping us, shaping us, maybe doing some pruning.
He fertilized – the story goes that the Native Americans taught the Pilgrim settlers how to fertilize their corn by putting fish in the soil. It made the plants produce much more corn on stronger plants. Well, Jesus fertilized the young plants he planted too. And do you know what Jesus’ fertilizer was? The Holy Spirit. It was like Jesus put his own breath into the little seedlings, giving them energy, warmth and love to grow well.
We know from scientific experiments that even plants respond to love. If you talk to your plants, love them, they will grow better. In fact, scientific experiments have shown that when we speak loving words, to water, its cellular structure sits up and takes notice. Its crystals become more beautiful and calm. Maybe this is what causes plants to grow better when they are loved, since plants, like our bodies, are mostly water.
Holy Spirit is like liquid love. Like the water of life. She moves through us in often unseen ways – do you see the water in the plants? But it is that presence which tends us – God’s plants – from the inside out.
He produced a huge crop – A truly amazing harvest! Miraculous! There were other farmer-teachers walking around Jesus’ country at the same time as he was. But we don’t know much about them. They have practically disappeared from history. But Jesus, on the other hand – well, almost everybody has heard of Jesus – even two thousand years after he lived! And there was no internet or Facebook to get the word out. It all happened by people planting more seeds – telling the stories Jesus told and watering, fertilizing and celebrating the crops. His teaching produced thousands, millions, generations of followers.
Like Jesus, we tell the stories, we remember how Jesus loved, and how it changed the people who learned to love like he did. We scatter the seeds of love over everyone. We are generous too. Everyone needs the seed of love planted in them. We do it faithfully, whether it grows plants or not. We water, prune and fertilize – well, the Holy Spirit does most of the fertilizing hard work – but we teach people about the Holy Spirit, and how to get in touch with the Spirit. And God’s seeds grow, wherever they are planted. With Jesus’ generous farming methods, sometimes the plants grow in the most unlikely places. So we nurture each seed with kindness and love.
We are the crop! We are the people God is growing to be the love sowers for our time. What a job! And we can do it, no matter what our day job may be, no matter how young or old we are, no matter what.