The metaphor of sowing seeds came up thrice today. That brings the count to four times in this month alone, and I guess God is really drilling in this principle of being faithful to sow seeds in the present even if the growth is not visible or immediate. I love that He’s teaching me this lesson through repetition!
One of the instances where the concept came up today was with my pastor. We met together with a bunch of my colleagues for our monthly mentoring sessions (praise Jesus for these, they always enrich my soul). She got us to refer to Matthew 13:
A farmer was sowing grain in his fields. 4 As he scattered the seed across the ground, some fell beside a path, and the birds came and ate it. 5 And some fell on rocky soil where there was little depth of earth; the plants sprang up quickly enough in the shallow soil, 6 but the hot sun soon scorched them and they withered and died, for they had so little root. 7 Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns choked out the tender blades. 8 But some fell on good soil and produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as he had planted.
She pointed out that in this passage, there were variable and non-variable factors. The variable factors: the type of soil on which the seeds fell and the elements of nature impacting the growth of the plants. Similarly, we can’t control the people we invest our efforts and hearts into, neither can we control the things that happen to them. The non-variable factors: there is a farmer, and in all three scenarios, the farmer just sows. Similarly, we are said farmer, there’s no running away from our present calling to lead people in our areas of care. Our job is simply to sow seeds and keep on sowing ’em.
Growth sometimes comes slow. A wise man once told me that if you want fast results, grow taugay (beansprouts), but if you want an orchard, sow seeds that will grow into trees. We may not always pull off overnight overhauls in our ministries, or bring about rapid transformation in people’s lives, but we can always sow something good. We can sow seeds of “I believe in you” and “I care for you”, and we can sow seeds of kindness, random or tiny acts of encouragement or blessing. We can sow seeds of gifts and potential in our developing leaders and provide them with opportunities to grow. We can even sow seeds of gentle and loving rebuke, pointing out errant mindsets or behaviour and encouraging them to take on biblical perspectives.
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For me, sowing this season looks like administration: straining over an excel spreadsheet, ensuring data for ministry personnel are updated, and then making a mental note on where to strategise recruitment efforts for the next year because some musician groups are becoming either endangered species or already extinct.
It looks like spiritual feeding: my best (albeit tired) efforts to pep talk the worship team before rehearsal started on the importance of keeping our daily devotional life, quoting beautiful phrases from a Desiring God article and still finding that my eyes meet theirs, glazed over because like me, it’s the end of the day and they’re tired too.
It looks like checking in: texting a bunch of my ministry leaders over the weekend to ask how they’re doing and how I can pray for them this week, and as their responses come streaming in, I hear them share about struggles and fears they currently have. That really helped me get a sense of how my leaders were doing and put the health of the ministry in perspective.
Sowing looks like making attitude decisions: even though tired, even though the task list is overwhelming, to not give up and not get frustrated or anxious. Do only what I can do for today. Leave the rest to God to supply the resources for. Fear less, trust more.
There are so many more things that I could write on about that are just ordinary things, but I can see how they’re laying foundations for the future. I guess that’s why I have a calm that’s so strange and rare that my friend commented on my “strange calm” today after I shared about the things that are coming up in just two weeks. (Gosh don’t get me started on the list.) I’m not often like this… honest to goodness! I’m usually so prone to anxiety.) But this post needs to come to an end, so I leave you with a verse I’m so thankful I’d memorised last year:
Let us not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. – Galatians 6:9
Also…. this song just popped into my memory. “Beautiful Seed” by Corrinne May, how apt!
Every hope, every power
Lies in the heart of a seed that flowers
Intertwined all across the land
We’re all seeds in the Maker’s hand
What about you? What does sowing look like for you this season? What things are you doing today that don’t seem to make much of an impact, yet God is assuring you that these will bring about future good? Press on, push through, dear friends!