Mark 4:26-29, “He also said, ‘This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.”
This is the second of three parables in Mark chapter 4. Jesus stresses the inherent power of the word of God to produce a harvest.
In 1913, the Provence region of southern France was a desolate area. Most of the wildlife was gone, the water holes had dried up, and most people had deserted the area. But not the old shepherd. He had remained. Every evening he sorted acorns, hazelnuts, and chestnuts for tomorrow’s planting. One day a young man came by. He said to the shepherd, “What are you doing, anyway?” “I’m planting trees,” replied the shepherd. The young man said, “But you can’t possibly make any difference. Look at how barren the area is—there’s no way this region will ever be different.” But the shepherd insisted, “Someday these seeds will make a difference. I may never see it, but perhaps my children will.”
Twenty years later, the hiker returned to Provence. The old shepherd was still alive and planting seeds. The whole valley had become a beautiful natural forest. A delegation of the Chamber of Duties from Paris came down, and honored the man who brought life to the valley. The old man lived to see the fruit of his labor. He understood the intrinsic power in a seed. He kept planting.
I want to encourage you to keep planting the seed of the Word of God in the hearts of people around you. You might start by doing something as simple as loving your neighbor. Last week I shared with you the vital importance of loving your literal neighbors, by doing things like holding a block party.
If you want more specific suggestions about reaching out to your literal neighbors, visit
www.artofneighboring.com for more ideas. You’ll find block maps and dozens of tips for engaging your neighbors with God’s love. This could be the start of a big harvest right in your own backyard!