Author: Ron Graham
Growth begins with the sowing of seed. That is true in the vegetable kingdom of the earth. It is also true in the spiritual kingdom of heaven. It's amazing how you can change your life simply by paying attention to the spiritual seed you sow daily. The Lord knows this, so he says...
"Do not be deceived. God is not mocked. For whatever a person sows, this will that person also reap. For those who sow to their own flesh, shall reap corruption from the flesh. But the one who sows to the Spirit, shall reap eternal life from the Spirit" (Gal 6:7-10)
The "fruit of the Spirit" give us a general idea of the kind of seed we should sow (Gal 5:22-23).
A seed is a very small thing, compared to the plant and the harvest it produces. The parable of the mustard seed points this out (Mtt 13:31-32, cf 17:20). Christianity is not necessarily a religion of big, heroic deeds. It may sometimes require them, and the suffering of Christ on the cross exemplifies them. However, it is things which are small in the eyes of the world, yet which even the world may value, that are the stuff of everyday Christian living, and of the Christian's development.
Have you ever wondered why there are so many commandments in the Bible that are small things to ask of us? There are only a few big asks, but such a lot of small things. For example...
You could add many more small things to that list. Things such as these are small seeds that we can sow day by day.
Of course some small things are highly valued, a pearl for example may be of great price. A seed, however, is a very ordinary thing. People don't pay much regard to a seed because it is not only small but ordinary. Christians don't have to do extraordinary things. To talk clean and avoid coarse or blasphemous language is not very extraordinary. To show gratitude with a kiss, or a smile, or a gift, or even just a thank you, is not very extraordinary. Yet these acts are little seeds that you can sow each day, and the harvest later on may well be extraordinary.
To illustrate this principle, consider someone you know who works hours and hours every week, without wages, for the benefit of others. This person may be be doing tasks like washing, ironing, cooking, cleaning, ferrying and fetching kids to and from school, babysitting, shopping, running errands. The lack of pay does not make such a person unhappy. But a lack of gratitude will certainly cause unhappiness. A happy home and family does not result from ingratitude and taking someone for granted, any more than a desirable harvest can come from failing to sow good seed. A happy and contented family is the fruit of sowing good seed such as gratitude abundantly. It's such an ordinary thing to "be thankful" but what a difference it makes at home, work, church, school, and so forth (Col 3:12-25).
As further illustrations, it might be very ordinary to put aside a small amount of your money to help a child, in a third-world nation, to get an education or medical aid. It might be very unremarkable to give some of your time and labour to help others with some responsibility important to them, but which they cannot handle alone. Yet in all sorts of ordinary ways, you can sow seeds of goodness that will grow and produce an abundant harvest.
One reason many people give up sowing spiritual seed, is that each time they sow, they feel that their deed was too ordinary, too unremarkable. I cannot think of anything much more ordinary than to "give to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink..." yet Jesus Christ himself honours and rewards such an act (Mtt 10:42).
Small and ordinary as a seed may be, so long as it remains alive it will sprout when you sow it. The seed is faithful and reliable in doing what God meant it to do, when it is sown. The spiritual seed we are thinking about is faithful too. It will produce much fruit in due season, if we sow it.
That is not the whole story however. A seed, to be faithful, must die when it is sown. "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone. But if it dies, it bears much fruit" (Jhn 12:24).
The reason many people give up sowing spiritual seed, is that each time they sow the seed, the little bit of themselves that they have given dies. They do not trust the seed. They do not look in faith beyond the death of that little bit of themselves, believing that it will conquer its death to live again as much fruit. So they stop letting little bits of themselves fall into the earth to die.
We need to have the same patience and faith in sowing to the spirit as the farmer has in sowing to the earth. "Behold the farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains" (Jas 5:7-8). In the same way, "Let us not lose heart in well doing for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary" (Gal 6:9).