May 4: The Parable of the Growing Seed

Read Mark 4:26-29

I once took a course on corn plant development and reproduction. I learned that experts describe the stages of development from planting to maturity in terms of germination, vegetative development (V1-VT), and reproductive development (R1-6). Don’t let me impress you with my knowledge. The course I am describing was a two-minute crash course on an Internet site!

Even though there are those much smarter than me who can describe this process in great detail and with scientific terms, the growth of a grain crop such as corn is miraculous and mysterious. How is it that a seemingly dry and “dead” seed can give rise to life? How is it that a single seed can produce 1-2 ears of corn, each with about 500 kernels on it?

Those kinds of questions are suggested in this parable of the growing seed. Mark is the only gospel writer to include this parable. Not surprisingly, Jesus apparently told this story in the same context as the parable of the soils. After pointing out God’s desire that all of us be fruitful followers of Jesus, by heeding the Word of God, He now goes on to point out the mystery of that growth process.

So what is involved in the process? First of all, seed is scattered. What may seem to be a lifeless message is actually the powerful, life-giving truth of the gospel. To be sure, the seed-scattering, gospel-sharing requires the work of some. Many labor diligently in order to bring that message in contact with the hearts and minds of people. This can be challenging work. And, frankly, not every soil receives the seed.

But in some people, there is evidence of receptivity and growth. Yes, the worker may have worked night and day, trying to give the right touches and impulses at the right time. He or she may have watered and sprayed. In spite of any effort given and even the farmer’s ability to explain what is happening, however, there is still the reality “he does not know how.”

When harvest finally comes, both the farmer and the gospel-sharer must recognize that there is more to this than their effort. Ultimately, you as the gospel-sharer are dependent upon the power of the gospel and the convicting of the Holy Spirit. You are dependent upon One outside of yourself.

Pray to Him for the harvest of souls in the soil where you live and work.


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