Hot, humid, it’s southern Missouri and the first official day of summer, so what else is new? I’m already a sweaty mess working in the yard, and the compost needs turning, so out comes the pitchfork (à la American Gothic) and the back muscles are put on notice.
It’s during this little exercise in semi-organic gardening that I observe a real surprise—two tomato plants growing, quite well I might add, to the side of my large, homemade compost bin, hidden between the garage and the fence line.
Huh?!? And they’re as large or larger than some of the ones I have growing now in my suped-up garden with my organic, sore-muscled compost mixed with expensive dirt that grows things “miraculously”, and is watered with our very, very expensive third-stage (whatever that is) city water!
So who planted you there? I know sure I didn’t!
Or didn’t I?
The cooks in our school kitchen had been allowing me to bring home much of their leftovers from the salad bar for my compost (flora only), which included tomatoes. Of course, tomatoes aren’t so great for a compost pile, so many of those I would toss out as “refuse”, (i.e., not even worthy for the garbage pile), you got it—between the garage and the fence. Let nature do its thing.
Yeah, well, nature did its thing. Beautifully. Without any help from me, I might add. Never did I expect to see a productive tomato plant (much less two!) growing in seclusion among the poison ivy and weeds.
“Philip went to look for Nathanael and told him, ‘We have found the very person Moses and the prophets wrote about! His name is Jesus, the son of Joseph from Nazareth.’
‘Nazareth!’ exclaimed Nathanael. ‘Can anything good come from Nazareth?’”
HA! I hear you Nate! A very definite negative pedigree. Maybe a fugitive Egyptian murder turned leader after a burning bush encounter. Maybe a young shepherd boy that could grow into a king after killing a giant with a slingshot. Nathaneal knew his Jewish history, to be sure.
But this—a supposed bastard son of some low-life carpenter living in a rural trash town, the Son of God? That’s flinging our precious holy seeds a bit too far, don’t you think, Philip?
“Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seed. As he scattered it across his field,…”
I love the word that Jesus uses here in this parable: “scattered”, which to me implies liberal outpouring without containment or concern of waste.
Our American culture talks a lot about strategies and goals and measurable outcomes, which are good tools, no argument there. Polls, probable cause and effect analysis, “good invites”, all that. However, we run into a problem when our tools become more like barriers to the creativity and sensitivity of the Holy Spirit. When we withhold our words and actions for a “better” prospect.
Who am I to determine how God Almighty will use my seeds??
“It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow.”
God sees only opportunity. I’m glad He did in Nazareth.
And in me.
John 1:45,46; Mark 4:3,4; 1 Corinthians 3:7 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.