Seeds to Trees

“The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground, and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how.” Mark 4:26-27

[9] About 25 years ago, we noticed something growing next to the house in front. I realized it was a little tree and almost cut it down, but we were sort of curious. We thought, “Let’s see what kind it is.”

But life got busy and that tree grew fast until we realized it would be no simple task to take it down. We still didn’t know what kind it was (someone thought an ash), but we did notice that after it topped our roof, it shaded the yard on those hot summer days. So we left it.

That tree is now about 50 feet tall—we had no idea it would grow so big and strong. Its enormous branches block the sun from our roof, and they cool the front yard all day. More delightfully, this enormous tree invites passing birds to rest and sing in its green, sun-dappled boughs. Perhaps they are like the bird that once perched on the roof and covertly deposited this gift as an inconsequential seed over 25 years ago.

The irony is that we had actually wanted to plant fruit trees in the back yard. We didn’t want to wait as long as growing it from a seed, of course, because we wanted to enjoy the fruit as soon as horticulturally possible. We went to Home Depot and picked out 3 saplings already sprouting their first flowers—a promising sign of productivity. We followed the instructions, laboriously dug the holes, then planted, fertilized, and watered them with great anticipation.

For three years we lovingly tended to those trees, and one by one they died.

Apparently, I don’t have the knack for growing things—no intuition for discerning conditions and remedies, let alone for pruning and such. I think my gardening days are over, and now I hope another bird will deposit the right seed under the right conditions, and perhaps someday, through processes I don’t understand, I will find an avocado or peach tree stretching itself from the dead soil of my back yard.

This allegory has shown me that as believers, we are like the little bird who cast its humble life-giving parcel into the front of my yard. We have the same ability, through mere happenstance of being ourselves, to drop in someone’s heart that one random seed of faith that quietly takes hold in fertile soil. We may not know the soil is fertile, and we don’t know if or when the seed will sprout.

But if we release it in faith, and don’t hold back, that one word can be the beginning of life.

Often when we think of sharing our faith, immediately the fowls of the air snatch away our desire. They cloud our minds with all kinds of fears: rejection, offense, confrontation, long conversations, getting too involved, lack of confidence with scriptures, or the “sinner’s prayer.”

We think of all the risk it will take, and even then, we have doubts that our words will bear fruit.

When we try to judge for ourselves if people are really ready, or if they are even interested, it’s like we only want to invest in the tree that’s already growing.

But trees have always managed to grow from seeds—they’re made that way.

Because of my faith in Jesus, I have spiritual seeds in me—seeds from the fruit that I consume, and in the fruit that I produce.

I consume the Word of God, I know Jesus, and I learn in church and fellowship. Between God’s Wisdom and my experiences, I have internalized many word-seeds that contain eternal life.

My life bears those seeds in the Fruit of the Spirit—Love, Joy, Peace, Patience (kinda), Goodness, Gentleness, Faithfulness, and Self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)

All of those packets of life are in me—I just need to have faith and let them drop in the world around me. They may not seem like much, but a faithful sower scatters seed, trusting that God will prepare the soil, sprout the tree, and tend to it.

Every Christian has their own variety of seeds, based on their own journey of faith, their own experiences, their own knowledge and life-lessons.

Cast your seeds so that prepared hearts can receive them.

Trust that the little words springing from your heart, on the spot, are inspired by the Spirit, and intended for that heart. Don’t judge by the outward appearance, or the reaction—trust God. Only He knows.

Someday we’ll know which seeds sprouted into life, or which words watered and revived a wilting soul. Just drop them as they come to your heart, mind, and lips—with joy.

“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, And he who wins souls is wise.” Proverbs 11:30

~Look for my next article with stories of Dropping Seeds.

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