Sowing the Seed of Faith
Jesus talked a lot about the kingdom of God - it's wherever God is active in the world.
Jesus explained that where God is active then things grow and grow positively. He said that the kingdom of God is like a small seed that is planted and grows into a huge tree. He also said that the kingdom of God is like a crop of grain that is sown in a field. Let's explore that.
Sowing seed by farmers in Jesus’ time was a hit and miss affair. The farmer did his best to prepare the ground and then threw the seed onto the soil. According to the parable of the sower that Jesus told, the eventual yield was very small because of a combination of opportunistic birds, dryness and poor soil. These days the whole process has improved dramatically with better knowledge of soil preparation, weed elimination and seed-planting technology. Some years ago in a country parish one of our farmer-parishioners purchased an air-seeder which was designed to optimize the planting. Other farmers from the district turned up to watch this 20th century marvel at work and very suitably impressed. Trouble was, even the best technology fails at times and when the crop of new wheat shoots emerged from the ground there were regular strips of bare soil between the rows of new wheat.
Jesus used the language of a farmer sowing seed to speak of the process of sharing our faith in God.
When he was with his disciples he sent them out to share with him in planting the seeds of the kingdom of God and as the resurrected Jesus was departing from them he sent them and their successors into the world with that responsibility. To do our best in faithfully doing what Jesus commanded, we must endeavor to understand the people that we are sharing our faith with. We must try to use words and concepts that they will understand; we must try to ensure that our example of living doesn’t conflict with what we are saying to them.
We must then make sure that the seeds of faith that are planted are well tended and watered.
The process of faith planting is a shared activity of the whole Church but each of us play our part; thus Paul wrote (1 Cor 3.6) "I planted, Apollos watered but God gave the growth". That’s right, out task is to faithfully plant seeds and water and ask God to do the growing.
Interestingly, Jesus’ life activity was just that, seed planting and watering, and he spoke of his own life as a seed that was planted in the ground – (John 12.24) “I assure you that unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it can only be a single seed. But if it dies, it bears much fruit.” Jesus put his whole life into it as did the prophets before him; they gave their lives to plant the seed of faith in the lives of their hearers and in the same way Jesus died so that God’s kingdom could grow and people could be gathered in to join the risen Jesus in eternal life.