Sown in hope

The Tatura Guardian - - News - — Brian Spencer, Min­is­ter, Tatura Unit­ing Church

It’s been a dry au­tumn and while the rain­fall in June was nearer to the sea­sonal av­er­age, most farm­ers would like to see more good rain.

Across the state rain­fall was 39.2 per cent be­low the au­tumn av­er­age; it was the low­est au­tumn rain­fall since 2008 and much drier than au­tumn 2017.

When the ‘‘au­tumn break’’ had not ar­rived by An­zac Day some farm­ers started dry sow­ing their crops in the hope for some May rain.

Dry sow­ing, or seed­ing, is a means of get­ting crops sown on time in sea­sons with a de­layed break.

With the cur­rent high cost of crop seeds, dry sow­ing is cer­tainly an act of hope, but it gets the crop in the ground and al­lows it to utilise the warm ground mois­ture if and when it does rain.

Fi­nally, in mid-May the weather turned and we got a good drop of rain.

June rain­fall was gen­er­ally close to av­er­age. And now it’s a wait­ing and hop­ing game. This sea­son does not look like it will have a lot of rain but, if it can only come at the right time, it may be enough.

It all seemed a lot sim­pler when Je­sus talked about it.

There is a very brief para­ble that Mark records which goes like this: ‘‘The king­dom of God is as if a man should scat­ter seed on the ground. He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. The earth pro­duces by it­self, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, be­cause the har­vest has come.’’ ( Mark 4:26-29) These days farm­ers are a lot more ac­tive. They spray out the weeds, spread (urea) fer­tiliser pe­ri­od­i­cally and of­ten hav­ing a agron­o­mist in­spect the grow­ing crop.

And yet the miracle of how the seed grows and de­vel­ops is some­thing that is ul­ti­mately be­yond our con­trol. We do what we can and we hope. The metaphor of ‘‘sow­ing a seed’’ is widely used when we talk about things which we have lit­tle con­trol over, but of­ten have a big emo­tional in­vest­ment in.

As par­ents our job is to plant and nur­ture seeds of char­ac­ter, skill and as­pi­ra­tion in our chil­dren.

When our chil­dren quote some­thing we said years ago, we cringe a bit at the re­minder of how much in­flu­ence a par­ent has, for good and for bad.

As with the farmer, the para­ble of the seed re­minds us that it’s not all up to us; ‘‘the seed sprouts and grows, he knows not how’’.

Some par­ents are too con­trol­ling and want to tell the seed ex­actly what kind of plant to be­come. Some par­ents are too lax and don’t help cre­ate good con­di­tions for the seeds to grow while other par­ents are like the sower in the para­ble, they sow and wait and hope.

Many of you, like me, can prob­a­bly re­mem­ber plant­ing seeds with young chil­dren, think­ing we are teach­ing them how to be gar­den­ers, but the only thing they learn is that seeds don’t grow when chubby, lit­tle hands dig them up ev­ery day to see how they’re do­ing.

A good par­ent, like the per­son scat­ter­ing seed in the para­ble, knows bet­ter than to up­root a seed be­fore its time.

The sow­ing is our re­spon­si­bil­ity but the growth is up to forces be­yond our con­trol.

Paul the Apos­tle de­scribes the growth of the church in Corinth in a sim­i­lar way: ‘‘I planted the seed, Apol­los wa­tered it, but God has been mak­ing it grow.’’ ( 1 Corinthi­ans 3:6).

May you be pa­tient with all the seeds of the king­dom grow­ing in your life.

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