The Upper Room devotional reflection for Friday, April 22, 2022 comes to us from John Sawyer of South Carolina
1 Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water's edge. 2 He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said: 3 "Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times." 9 Then Jesus said, "Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear." Mark 4:1-9 NIV
In my retirement I have found that planting flower and vegetable seeds is a good way of relating to God and creation. Planting can be a time of meditation as I prepare the soil and plant or scatter the seeds. Then comes the patient waiting and hoping for the germination and sprouting of the seeds, followed by the joy of seeing the seeds turn into plants, with buds, blooms, and fruit.
Growing relationships is a lot like gardening. We sow seeds of kindness through seeing every person as one created in the image of God and thus kin to us. We sow words of kindness by speaking the truth in love. We do deeds of kindness by actively treating every person with compassion and respect – as we would like to be treated. Thinking about all this led me to Jesus’ parable of the sower. In the parable, the sower scattered the seed everywhere, regardless of the condition of the soil. We can do likewise. Then, as with gardening, we watch, wait, and hope for joyful growth in our relationships with others and with God.
Jesus’ Parable of the Sower reminds all of us that our own actions speak far louder than our words. Whenever we offer acts of kindness, generosity, and support we make God’s loving grace visible in our community. Certainly, it is also very important to speak lovingly, because of course, that is also an action in itself. Thus, through all that we do and say, we plant seeds that sprout and grow to become God’s ambassadors and disciples.
Help us, God, to be generous in our thoughts, words, and deeds to everyone we meet today. Then may your love bring a harvest of loving and reconciled relationships. Amen.
Someone I have treated unkindly
Thought for the Day:
Today I will sow seeds of kindness, then wait and hope for joyful growth.
26 [Jesus] also said, “The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow.”
Mark 4:26-27 (NRSV)