Mark 4:26-34 (NRSV)
Verse 26He also said, "The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, Verse 27and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. Verse 28The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. Verse 29But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come."
Verse 30He also said, "With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? Verse 31It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; Verse 32yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade."
Verse 33With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; Verse 34he did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his disciples.
I am not a farmer, but I live among farmers and have learned much from them. Their work is long and hard—and it bears no resemblance to the Hallmark movies I enjoy watching. There is so much more that goes into farming than simply scattering seed and watching it grow, and I recognize that I know only a tiny portion of what that entails. But I have learned, too, that farmers are people of great faith, for they recognize that they can do everything perfectly and still not have a crop, that there are things that are completely beyond their control. In this parable, Jesus invites us to remember that there are things over which we have no control—that something as simple as scattering seed and watching it grow is more about faith and trust in a bountiful creator than it is about anything we have done.
Open our eyes, Lord, to all that you provide. May we see the beauty and the mystery in your provision and offer our thanks to you. Amen.