by Letha Essinger
"Then [Jesus] told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.” Matthew 13:3-9
Growing up in Kansas on a dry-land farm I looked forward each year to the coming of spring, with all the newness of life that it brought. Baby chicks arrived in the back seat of the rural mail carrier's car, and baby piglets and new calves were born. Weeds and perennial flowers sprung up and bushes promised delicious berries in summer. My father prepared the soil in our gardens and our fields for planting. I loved planting the seeds, imagining the good food that would be harvested in summer and the beautiful flowers to enjoy.
I remember one summer I took a few dried peas and beans from Mom's pantry and made a secret little garden in the draw behind our house. I was delighted to see them actually grow.
I'm told that “you can take the girl out of Kansas, but you can't take Kansas out of the girl.” I still delight in playing in the dirt. The winter chores had better be finished before mid-March, or they will have to wait until fall. You will find me all spring, summer, and into fall in my garden.
Our youngest daughter inherited the “dirt-under-the-fingernails” gene. She plans her spring breaks from the university (where she works) to come play in the dirt with her mom.
I'm wondering – who planted the Jesus seeds in your life? Who was it that loved Jesus and wanted you to love him too?
We had Sunday school in our little one-room schoolhouse. One of my seed planter/saints was Sadie Intermill. She was the organizer that made sure Sunday school happened. The main thing I remember is singing with Mrs. Intermill playing every key on the piano, with exuberance, for us to sing “Jesus Loves Me,” “Brighten The Corner Where You Are,” or “Heavenly Sunshine.” We memorized Bible verses and little poems to recite. When I grew up, I wanted to be just like Sadie Intermill.
As a layperson, and later as a pastor, I pray that I planted some Jesus seeds in many lives. No matter that I could never play the piano. I still love to sing! Hymn of Promise, composed by Natalie Sleeth, captures the idea of how “Jesus seeds” grow and produce fruit.
In the bulb there is a flower; in the seed, an apple tree;
in cocoons, a hidden promise: butterflies will soon be free!
In the cold and snow of winter there's a spring that waits to be,
unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.
Our loving heavenly Father, thank you for those who planted “Jesus seeds” in my life. Grant me grace to share seeds of love, hope, and faith in the lives of others. Amen.