Today we hear from the Bible the parable of the seeds.
Ever since I was a child, I have been fascinated by Jesus using images of planting and seeds and growing things to teach lessons about God’s kingdom.
Last Sunday we heard the parable of the sower and today we hear the parable of the seeds.
Now I love getting into good, healthy soil and planting seeds.
Have you ever just given some thought to seeds?
Think about how a little seed can grow and produce so much food.
There is a place that I discovered a number of years ago that truly values seeds.
More than any other farm, I think, this place just loves seeds.
The farm is near Decorah, Iowa and the name of the farm is called of course, Seed Savers.
Seed Savers saves and preserves seeds.
Seed Savers is one of the largest seed banks in the United States.
Seed Savers farm is certified organic, they don’t use any chemicals or toxins on this farm, and the farm is one of the most diverse farms in the world with more than 25,000 rare fruit, vegetable, and plant varieties.
I have visited this farm several times and I must say that there is something very special going on at this farm.
This place loves seeds.
But with the exception of those who work at Seed Savers I suppose that many of us do not give too much thought into seeds.
In Jesus’ time though the images of seeds and planting and harvesting would have been very clear and familiar to Jesus’ audience.
Those who heard this parable along with the parable of the sower that we heard last week would have been able to understand the point that Jesus was making.
Drawing from their experiences of working in the fields the people would have made the connection that this parable was about grace and about judgment.
God alone sees a person’s heart and has the power to redeem a person.
God alone is the judge.
We like to be the ones to make that call and to separate the weeds from the wheat.
Think about your own life for a moment here.
How many times have you been wrong about someone?
I know for myself that I can be a very judgmental person.
I can recall as a seminary student being very judgmental upon one of my classmates.
I thought that this particular student was a little strange, now when I say that that is my judgement here, I am making that call.
I thought that this student should not be a pastor.
And because I thought those thoughts I did not reach out to this person and I ignored this person while in seminary.
It was only years later when I later connected with him that I discovered what a gift he was to the church.
I wish I could go back in time and change my reaction to this person and the way I ignored this person and the way I judged his gifts for the ministry.
But I cannot.
The parable of the seeds teaches us to be careful about making quick judgements upon other people.
In the parable if the reapers would have had their way, they would have pulled out good wheat along with the weeds.
If I would have had my way back in seminary, I would have pulled out a good future worker in God’s kingdom.
I regret what I did and I learned an important lesson here to work harder at recognizing and seeing the goodness of God in others.
Jesus teaches us here that we cannot correctly distinguish good vs evil people judgment is reserved for Jesus.
Do you see what I am getting at here?
God can see the bigger picture that we often cannot see.
There will be a time of judgement but it will not happen by our control or by our power or perception.
This parable teaches us that everything that we see, the world as we know it, is in God’s hands and in God’s power.
In thinking about the farm that I spoke of Seed Savers mission is to protect seeds and to protect diversity and the very life of seeds.
They don’t throw out some seeds that may seem less valuable all seeds are collected and saved.
In a similar way we are to protect life, to continue always to preach grace, and to not give up on people.
That difficult person that God has brought into your life that you think might be a weed might be a redeemed child of God that God will use to further God’s kingdom.
The truth is that only God can really know a person’s heart.
Now I do believe in a final judgement.
Jesus teaches us that this is so in the parable of the seeds.
But I am grateful that our work is to preach grace and that our job is to believe in people – to believe the best about another person.
To hope that God’s grace will work within a person’s heart.
This is why the work that we do together in this church is so important.
We give hope to our community that God’s love and grace is real and is upon us.
During these past four months we have had more time than usual to give some thought to self-reflection.
This parable forces us to consider our own lives not to make judgments upon the lives of our neighbors but to reflect upon our own lives.
Can we ask this question, “Am I living and growing in the Lord?”
That is a question that only you and God can answer.
And there is even some humility that comes with the question because in the end we cannot answer that question -only God can.
Our hearts must be ready, we must have a deep desire to receive what Jesus has to give, and we must be prepared to be led by him.
Just as we are patient and hopeful that one day life may return back to normal from this pandemic we wait with patience and with hope for the coming of our Lord who will set things right and whose judgement will be swift.
Yes, we live in a world that if filled with corruption and evil.
Everyday seeds of hatred and injustice are sown.
But Jesus teaches us that we must grow together until the harvest and that at this time we must believe that no one is beyond the grace of God.
And finally, as the old hymn declares: “Thought the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.”
God is the ruler yet.
In God we place our hope and our trust this day.