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Sunday 12 July 2020 Message Supplement: “Spiritual Seeds”

Today’s topic is spiritual seeds, a nice parallel to spring planting and the summer growing season (Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23).

Farmers rely on good soil along with water, sunshine and nutrients as crucial to a healthy crop. Similarly, Jesus’ words in Matthew presents a metaphor about how people can be like seeds. Is God your Master Gardener? If not, then perhaps today’s message will encourage you.

Planting seeds involves sowing and Jesus’ story has four examples. The first is seed that had fallen on top of the earth before being planted, but birds grabbed these due to their exposure. The second set of seeds fell into shallow, rocky soil but lack of sufficient roots destroyed them. The third instance of seeds fell into thorns but competition from weeds choked them. The fourth and final seed batch landed in good soil where they produced goodness and fulfilled their potential. The meaning behind all this is that people are supposed to be planted properly if they want to survive and thrive. It sounds simple, but how does this happen?

The seeds in Jesus parable can represent each person’s life circumstances. After being born, people make more consequential and complex choices. Babies don’t face as many complex choices as adults do, and depending on the situation each person’s choices impact the quality and quantity of their life. A seed absolutely doesn’t have a choice but can a person take full responsibility and overcome the bad soil (i.e., inadequate life) where they were planted?

Jesus’ story suggests that people are planted (or born) into good or bad soil. The status of each seed in the story depended upon the sower, who in Jesus’ parable represents God. As the divine Master Gardener, God can scatter seeds (or people) in a manner that looks random or even haphazard. Seeds are not held responsible for where they are planted but people are held responsible for where their choices lead them. Yet there’s caution in all this metaphorical talk about seed sowing because people are not seeds. There’s a risk of oversimplifying life when trying to stretch the analogy between people and seed planting.

Some people are fulfilled where they are planted in life while others are not able to take root and grow because of conditions beyond their control. Compassionately consider the struggles some folks endure while other people are born into ease and privilege. People of faith can assist the less fortunate and help them overcome harsh circumstances. God’s people may even need to create new soil to replace the inadequate dirt into which some folks were born and raised.

Seeds cannot get up and replant themselves but because you are more than a seed you can uproot and transplant yourself to good soil, which also implies you’ll need better attitudes and behaviors. Presumably, improved circumstances along with superior choices will help you thrive. Even if you don’t have access to a better environment you can still nurture a positive outlook, which also impacts your success and failure.

Take responsibility for what you can and experience vitality through growth via a well-managed life. Planting roots in God’s love involves an ongoing process of holistic renewal, where there is constant input from all aspects of your existence (i.e., physical, mental and spiritual). These interrelated parts come together to form your entire person. It’s the same with nature in that the separate elements of sun, rain, soil and nutrients coalesce to maximize seed growth.

Especially when trying to make the best of harsh circumstances, seek assistance when you can’t go it alone. Despite less than perfect soil you can make progress toward a better life. No matter where God plants you, your great choices form a starting point from which to grow toward wellbeing. Are you planting anything? I sure hope so, especially if it’s a bountiful life rooted in God’s love.

–Reverend Larry Hoxey

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