Today we come to the end of the parables in the fourth chapter of Mark verses one through thirty-four. Our Scripture reading has today has us at the conclusion of Jesus teaching about the kingdom of God. Previously, Jesus taught about the Sower? Seed? Soil? then some sayings about lights, lamp stands, and hearing; today He returns to teaching about the potency of the seed that is sown.
This week I want us to focus on the potency of the seed that is sown. The potency of the smallest of all seeds. So we turn to gardening. Early gardening in scripture begins in the Garden of Eden where God had given humanity everything that they needed (Genesis 1:28-30). There was not much need for humans to garden. Everything they needed was provided by God in the Garden. There was no food shortage or food distribution problem. There was just food. All that one needed was provided.
Then in Genesis 3 humanity fell, that is, sinned against God by disobeying God’s command and so humanity was sent out from the Garden where they had evening they needed. Now they had to fend for themselves (Genesis 3:22-24). Gone was the security of food plenty and food distribution. Gone was the security of being in the presence of God and God’s provision. Now humanity had to rely on self for security.
This is where we enter into the fourth chapter of Mark and farming or gardening. Why does the farmer sow seed? The farmer sows seed because the farmer needs food … needs security … needs life. The farmer sows because the farmer wants to know that there will be enough money or food in storage to secure his family until the next season. This understanding of farming is anti-Scriptural. In the Minor Prophets, we are repeatedly warned that our lust for security is the case of human suffering. In Mark Jesus assigns new meaning to the act of sowing seed. Where we like the human farmer sow for ourselves under the illusion of being in control, Jesus sows for others at his own peril. Jesus sows under the promise of hope against all hope. Despite all the cruelty, suffering, and betrayal; despite Roman occupation; or attempts by his own people to shut him up; He does not lose hope. Why? Because all his hope is placed not in the work of his own hands, but in the will of the Father. (The previous paragraph is from The Ephesus School Network).
In reflecting on Mark 4:26-34, how do you sow? What are you sowing? What do you hope to reap?