We live in a world of master gardeners cautioning, “You can’t plant in the dryness of drought or when the insects are swarming; when the blight is bad and the field is fallow; without first checking the pH balance and acidity level and plowing the rows.”
Matthew 13:1-9 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: “Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Let anyone with ears listen!”
The miracle isn’t the 100 fold yield, but that we follow a good soil Savior who is excessive in his grace, reckless in his relationships, shattershot in his sowing.
“The kingdom of God will certainly come,” says David Hill, “with a harvest beyond all expectation, by way of failure, disappointment and loss.”
I know the life of faith often feels like the birds devoured it, the sun scorched it, the thorns choked it. I know your ministry can often seem meaningless, but keep slinging the seeds of discipleship. I know your truant child continues to trouble, but keep slinging the seeds of guidance. I know you’re devastated by the divorce, but keep slinging the seeds of covenant.
To be Christian, then, is to believe that God never runs out of seed and every pile of dirt has a potential burning bush growing just beneath the surface.
She founded the Missionaries of Charity, a response, that spread worldwide, to the abandoned children that had never been held, the infected lepers too contagious to touch, the AIDS patients one cough away from the grave. And the criticism murmured under the world’s breath at Mother Teresa over and again was, “You’re planting in the mud, your resources don’t take root, your crop brings no return.”
Mother answered, “God didn’t call me to a ministry of success. God called me to a ministry of mercy.”
God didn’t call any of us to a ministry of success either, or as Paul Tillich said, “The history of the people of God is a