Within our Wisdom Note this week, we continue with part three of a three-part series on how life is like a seed. There are so many lessons that we can learn from farming. It is rich in its analogies of life. Growing up on a farm, more specifically an apple orchard, we learned first hand the struggles and hardships of farming. So it is with life at times, but unless we plant good seeds continually, we will never reap a good harvest.
God instructs us to learn spiritual principles from Creation. Have you considered the example of the seed?
The past two weeks on our trek, we used a simile of how life is like a seed. Today we will finish this comparison with part three. There are many parallels from both a physical and spiritual perspective. We have already learned about seeds and the conditions needed for germination. Let’s continue on our trail today as we seek out more information about planting seeds and what is required for growth.
The Work—Planting Seeds That Grow
Ultimately, the seed’s sole purpose is to reproduce its own kind, but there are various levels of harvest. In front of a large crowd, Jesus told the parable of the farmer scattering seed. This story is found in Luke 8. In verse 5 it says, “A farmer went out to plant his seed. As he scattered it across his field…”
We see there were different growing environments within this field, yielding varying rates of failure and success. Christ explained to his disciples privately the types of soil that were in the field in verses 11-15 where Jesus said, “This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is God’s word. The seeds that fell on the footpath represent those who hear the message, only to have the devil come and take it away from their hearts and prevent them from believing and being saved. The seeds on the rocky soil represent those who hear the message and receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they believe for a while, then they fall away when they face temptation. The seeds that fell among the thorns represent those who hear the message, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the cares and riches and pleasures of this life. And so they never grow into maturity. And the seeds that fell on the good soil represent honest, good-hearted people who hear God’s word, cling to it, and patiently produce a huge harvest.”
We see that the purpose of doing God’s work is to scatter the seeds on whatever soil is around us. We are not responsible for the size of the harvest. God will take care of that.
Through the ages, the way seeds were scattered was through the technology available at that time. Today we have the capability of scattering God’s Word to practically the entire world from wherever God has placed us. The Internet has become a powerful tool in spreading the “seed” of God’s Word, and this is only the beginning! We must not pass up this opportunity.
We can compare this growth to either a fruit or nut-bearing tree. At first, the tree is a sapling with just one stem. But it soon grows more branches—at first two, then four the following year, and even more every year after. Eventually, the tree will become mature enough to bear fruit or nuts but only as much as the branches are able to bear. For instance, the oak tree will usually not produce a significant amount of acorns until approximately its 20th year. But every 20 years afterward, it will more than triple its production of acorns.
Yes, God does start things small, even in the plant kingdom—setting an example for us to learn. Consider how tiny the Church was in the early years of the Apostles. Through the years as technology has improved and the population has increased, we have many more ways to “scatter seeds” to reach the entire world.
Growth by Trial
Just as some seeds need to be exposed to fire, we may endure trials—sometimes even fiery ones—throughout our lives. We can be confident that we will not be destroyed by these trials. We can endure them as I Corinthians 10:13 tells us, “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.”
Also in 1 Peter 4:17 we are told, “These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.”
When a seed is exposed to fire, extreme heat, or a period of freezing temperatures, a chemical change occurs that triggers the seed to grow.
In the same way, trials trigger us to grow. God uses problems, troubles, and afflictions to strengthen His children—to cause us to learn, change, grow, endure, and overcome.
As stated earlier, some seeds must be exposed to complete darkness for germination to occur. Likewise, we sometimes go through periods of darkness—when life seems bleak and all hope has faded. This has occurred to some of God’s greatest servants, including Job, Joseph, and David.
Once a seed has germinated and developed into a mature plant, it still faces many obstacles. The strongest trees are the ones that face heavy winds when they are young. Any time we face adversity, we need to consider it an opportunity for great joy because it will strengthen us as James tells us in James 1:2-4, “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”
As we consider how life is like a seed, we need to realize the purpose of every seed is to reproduce its own kind. Each seed has the potential to grow into a new, fully mature plant. In the same way, God is reproducing His “own kind” through us as is written in Romans 8:29-30, “For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.”
In our Wisdom Note today, we had our third of three lessons on how life is like a seed. So the next time you do a little planting in your garden or see a farmer planting his field, remember the example God has given us in the little seed! Next week, we will consider “How Heavy is Your Backpack?” Encourage your friends and family to sign up for our weekly notes and also join us listening to our podcast for another day of our Wisdom-Trek, Creating a Legacy.