Everyone should have a tomato plant somewhere in their backyard; everyone should have some plant or some flower they attend to during the growing season. Why? Because I think there is something to be said about the lesson of hard work reaping a wonderful reward. But more so I think it reminds us so much of gift and grace. There is always a lot of mystery with a garden. I do things carefully as the box of “Miracle Grow” commands and yet sometimes my plants don’t take root; I plant my flowers or vegetables without much thought and lo and behold they grow? Why or how, sometimes I do not know.
My three kids are a mystery to me. They all came from the same home and yet they are all so very different. They have sprouted in different ways. And yet in each of them I see the mystery of God’s grace at work in them as they have turned into wonderful adults.
The kingdom, He said, was like a seed that sprouts and grows, and yet the gardener does not know how. Pure grace I think is found in that line. We plant, we do our work, and yet in the end it is dependent not on us but on the sweet mystery of grace at work behind and in life itself. There is comfort for me in this passage. There is comfort in knowing that however way our church will grow and thrive it is not all up to me or to you or to membership committee or what kind of worship service we have or how well I preach or don’t preach but up to the mystery of God’s will. There is comfort in knowing that my children will grow and thrive beyond all of my faithfulness and sometimes in spite of unfaithfulness, because, too, God’s grace is with them.
I will plant seeds to be sure, but the growth is a mystery in God’s keeping. I will plant seeds in my kids’ and grandkids' hearts and lives, but again the mystery is found in God’s promise and not in my effort alone.
Here is a word that is grace I think for preachers, dads, moms, teachers, faithful church leaders, everyone who strives to do right. Yes, we do our work, we plant our seeds, but in the end of all the work we do, shinning in and through all our best efforts, is still the mystery of God’s grace who promises to be at work through and in our faithfulness and sometimes in spite of unfaithfulness. Our salvation in the world perhaps is combination of faithfulness and yet a trust that God’s grace and power will carry us all home to the harvest.