The Parable Of The Seed
Mark 4:26-34

We might have convinced ourselves that we can do anything.
We have made great strides with our technology.
We see things on our TV and computers that are happening thousands of miles away.
We can change the course of rivers.
We have produced test-tube babies.
We have put men on the moon.
The possibilities are endless.
Can you imagine what Adam and Eve would think of what we have made of this world?

What do these statements have to do with the sermon?
The reason is that all these different things concerns our soul.
For anyone who believes that everything can be made, must also want to make everything.
And anyone who has accomplished so much usually tries to outdo what he has done,
and he can no longer stay still.

Our overactivity, which constantly keeps us on the merry-go-round and yet,
no matter how fast we go – we get nowhere.
It only makes us dizzy.
We can become so nervous and have no time for anything because we think everything will stop without us,
and also, because we think that we are so tremendously important.

And this is why we can never let anything get out of our responsibility and be entrusted to others.
So that is the reason why we hold onto everything and wear ourselves out all over again
because we do everything ourselves, and therefore, must always be producing something.
We never get away from constant care and concern.
For anyone who takes everything upon himself finds that everything depends on him.

That is why we worry over so many things.
That is why we worry about how we shall pass tomorrow's important test.
We worry about what will happen to our children.
We also worry about what will happen to our grandchildren.
We are literally beset by threatening possibilities – what if -- what if ...?

We have forgotten how to rely on the fact that it is God who clothes the lilies of the field – the birds of the air .
We have forgotten that God provides our daily portion of bread, and that His kingdom come
no matter what happens.

So, we have come to depend entirely on ourselves.
And when that happens, we stand alone – utterly alone!
It is as if we determined that we don't need the Man who walked on the waves.
We are out to win the blue ribbon of life.
After all, we have accomplished glorious, unbelievable things

Then, why are we so anxious?
Why do we worry so?
It is because there is no one on which to cast our cares.
Why can't we sleep?
It is because we can no longer let ourselves go, and trust others to do the job that they have to do.

It is a weird world.
We cannot believe that anything will happen without us, and that we must be there to look after everything
because we cannot trust anyone.
So, we have to be everywhere and do everything.

That is why we can no longer just let things happen.
We must be in on everything – every moment.
We can never let down or let up.
Wow – what pressure!

We are no longer able to trust others or to allow things to grow or mature – we just can't wait
– we are so impatient.
So, we are out on the limb – that could be cut out from under us.
We have taken charge.
We are dying with our privileges and glories.

Count Von Moltke, as an old man, was asked what he was going to do in the quiet closing phase of his life
after years of great activity and responsibility.
His reply was: "I want to see a tree grow."

The person who doesn't know how to let go does not know the great joy that He could know
if he knew God, and truly believed that He carries out His purposes without us – and sometimes in spite of us.
That person who does not have great confidence and trust in God who makes the trees grow
and rainbows appear in the sky will become nothing but a miserable creature now and in the years ahead.

For, after all, what is he good for, if he can no longer produce what can be produced,
and his two good eyes, on which he has staked everything has grown dim?

Everything we have said so far has been seen and said in the light of this theme.
Now let us stand, as it were, behind our God praying that we might see the world as He sees it.

Here is a man who has sowed his fields.
When he has done this, he leaves them.
He feeds the cattle, he makes some repairs on his house, he drives to town to do some errands,
he goes to bed at night, and rises up early in the morning.

And while he is doing all this the seed is growing – without his moving a hand.
First, the blade from the seed, and from the blade – the ear – and then, the kernels in the ear.
All this he has done without touching the seeds in the field.

What an unspeakable comfort it is to know that in the midst of man's mischief,
in the midst of his scheming and bad speculations –in the midst of his shaping and misshaping
– in his activism and his failures, there is still another stream of events that are silently flowing on.
God is letting His seeds grow, and achieving His purposes.

When the Flood subsided and the rainbow sign of reconciliation appeared against the skies, still dark with clouds,
God pronounced a very strange word of consolation upon this poor quiet-laden earth
whose wounds were now to be closed:
"While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter,
night and day, shall not cease
."

We will miss the comfort in this assurance if we see in it nothing more than an invitation to man
to find rest from all the busyness of his daily grind and also from all the folly and confusion of human life
by contemplating the constancy of nature, observing the orderly rhythm of the seasons
and their coming and going, and by pondering the perfect mathematical harmony of the stars in their courses
by simply letting God's sun shine upon him, and enjoying the beauty of the moonlight shining upon the sea. ...

Certainly, this can be a good thing.
But we dare not expect too much from these exercises in spiritual nature as a cure.
If nature is our only physician, it may be that we shall only become more miserable.
And then, we may suddenly feel that we are excluded from its peace and it's measured orderliness.

Then we may shake our heads, and go back to our store or our office or our classroom, and say:
"Wherever man is absent, in a quiet forest, or… all is well."

But whenever this "beast" (called, man) appears there is confusion and restlessness.
He can spoil the loveliest landscape with his litter and trash.
So, if we are honest, nature also has something altogether different from a message of comfort to speak to us.

But this is not at all the intention of God's message of comfort after the Flood.
Summer and winter, day and night, seedtime and harvest – here these are not to be understood
as manifestations of natural laws, but rather as signs that point to the Lord who is at work here.

So, what does this passage say to us.
It says that the one solid certainty in all the bewildering confusion is the faithless and dependability of God.
God's love and God's faithfulness never falters.

But all the confusions we have in our personal lives and the politics of the world that overpowers us,
and all the futilities which only take us farther from the goal, still do not divert God from His purposes.

In God's eternity one day when we look back from the throne of God on the last day,
we shall say with amazement and surprise,
"If I had ever dreamed when I stood at the graves of my loved ones, and when everything seemed to be ended.
If I had ever dreamed when I saw the possibility of an atomic war.
If I had ever dreamed when we face the possibility of disease…
If I had ever dreamed that God was only carrying out His design and plan to all these woes,
and that in the midst of my cares and troubles and despair His harvest was ripening,
and that everything was pressing on according to His plan.
If I had known this, I would have been more competent.
I would have been far more tranquil and composed."

If you want to see how this certainty works out, just look at the Lord Himself.
A tremendous pressure must have been within Him to drive Him to hectic, nervous, explosive activity.

Jesus sees, as no one else ever sees, the agony of the dying man, the prisoner's torment,
the anguish of the wounded conscience, injustice, terror, dread, and wickedness.
He sees and hears and feels all this in His heart as a Savior.
This means that distress and misery just wasn't noted and registered inwardly,
but He actually suffered in compassionate love, as if it was happening in His own body and soul.

Must this not fill every waking hour and rob Him of sleep at night?
Shouldn't He spent day and night to keep the fire burning, to win people, to work out strategic plans
to evangelize the world, to work, work, work, furiously work unceasingly,
before the night comes when no man can work?

That's what we would imagine the earthly life of the Son of God would be like,
if we were to think of Him in human terms.

But the actual life of Jesus was utterly different from that.
Though the burden of the whole world they heavily upon His shoulders knowing of the emptiness in Rome
and Athens, and entire continents with all their desperate need, were dreadfully near to His heart.
Suffering and sinning were going on in house after house, street after street, palaces and slums,
and were seen by the Son of God.

Though this immeasurable misery and wretchedness cried aloud for a physician – He has time to stop
and talk to the individual.
He associates with publicans, lonely widows, and distressed prostitutes.
He moves among the outcasts of society, loving each one individually.
He is never pushed, and He is never breathless.
He is never bothered by the fact that these are not strategically, important people – they have no prominence
– they are not key figures – they are the unfortunate, the lost and the needy – in need of a heavenly Father.

Because Jesus knows that He must serve His neighbor, He can confidently leave to His Father
that things farthest away, as well as the great perspectives.
By being obedient in His little corner of Bethlehem, and in His daily responsibilities in Nazareth,
He allows Himself to be fitted into a great mosaic whose master is God.
And that is why He has time for people; for all time is in the hands of His Father,
and that is why peace exudes from Him.
For God's faithfulness already covers the globe, He only needs to rest in it.

Jesus knows that the outcome of growth and harvest is in the hands of His Father.
What a blessing it is for us when we learn this.

The plans and programs of men, even when it masquerades as a kind of evangelism,
and becomes an enterprise of the church, is always based on the human conceit that success and failure,
fruit and harvest are dependent upon our human activity – upon our imagination
– our energy, and our intelligence.

So, we must guard against that busyness and activities and programs that are devoid of power,
and are dried up as far as spiritual resource are concerned.

Jesus knew where the power resided, and also knew that He needed the resources of His Father.
On occasions where the crowds had gathered, and you would think that Jesus must seize the opportunity
and strike while the iron is hot, but He "passes through the midst of them"
and withdraws into the silence of communion with His Father.

This is why He spoke with authority to the Scribes and Pharisees.
He spoke with power because He had first spoken with the Father.
And because of this time spent with the Father, He knew that God is always working in the seed
and it is always growing.

So, some may ask, "But how do I go about achieving this detachment in which I stop allowing myself
to be carried away by the busyness, and simply let God work
?"

How can we attain this stillness?
Here is the description:
Faith is being quiet and receptive when God speaks, and being still, when God acts.
Instead of asserting ourselves into the limelight, when God wants to turn on His light and enlighten us.

When the telephone is silent for a moment, and when the children are quiet, and when the husband or wife
are not needing us – don't reach for the newspaper or the computer with the next file folder.
Here is the prescription: "Be still and know that I am God."

Take a deep breath and say: "Glory be to the Father, and to the the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end
."
This will give you a sense of distance and peace to us.

"Glory be to the Father" means: "Glory to Him who has brought me to this moment in my day's work.
Who has placed me where I am, and in the last analysis makes the final decision with regard
to every decision I will have to make
."

"Glory be to the Son – Jesus Christ who died for me."
How can I be concerned with frittering myself away on trifles and futilities?
Christ died for me and others around me who are not Christians need my Christian witness to them.

"Glory be to the Holy Spirit" means: He who enlightens – He who fills me – He who gives me a sense
of the true priorities in life.

"As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end."

We are surrounded by His everlasting arms, and we can completely trust in Him.

If we would stop and repeat that prescription regularly then we would soon find that we will go back
to our job renewed – we will become realists in a new way – and then we'll know how to distinguish
what is important and what is not – and what is great from what is small – from what is real and what is false.

We must grasp the ministry of the seed growing secretly, and, like the farmer in the parable,
go out and does his part of the job, and then, commits the fields to God.
Then he lies down to sleep in His name.

That is the godly thing and the wise thing to do.

God's Got The Whole World In His Hands.

"Hes got the whole world in His hands,
Hes got the whole world in His hands,
Hes got the whole world in His hands.

Hes got the wind and the rain in His hands,
Hes got the wind and the rain in His hands,
Hes got the whole world in His hands.

Hes got the the tiny little baby in His hands,
Hes got the the tiny little baby in His hands,
Hes got the whole world in His hands.

Hes got you and me, brother, in His hands,
Hes got you and me, brother, in His hands,
Hes got the whole world in His hands.

He's got ev'rybody here in His hands.
He's got ev'rybody here in His hands.
He's got the whole world in His hands."

Sermon was adapted from several sources by Dr. Harold L. White