Jesus, speak English” That is what I think every time Jesus
begins a story about gardening or farming. Jesus, Jesus I need you
to speak to me in the language I understand.
Jesus is talking
about the kingdom of God today and what it is like. I love these
parables because we are living right now in the kingdom of God –
we are living in the reign of God – right now. How exciting
is that? And so when Jesus begins to talk about the kingdom of God,
I enter in because it is now and it is in the future.
So Jesus talks
about the kingdom of God being like a volunteer tomato. He didn’t
say that? He did. He said it is as if someone scattered seed and
all of sudden tomatoes appeared and not just bad or rotten tomatoes
but tomatoes that are tasty and just as good or better than tomatoes
we plant on purpose.
SHOW VIDEO –
Notice where these tomatoes are growing – not in rich soil
but in a rocky side of a house.
It reminds me of when I was at Byrl’s parents recently and
we were walking their property over in WV. They have a city home
and a country home. And there along their barn was a rhubarb plant-
lowly and by itself. And we were talking about the weeds and the
brush that it grew up among and talked about clearing out the stuff
and maybe using it to plant some other things. Now mind you they
have a garden and this plant was nowhere near this garden.
THAT HAPPEN – No one tills the land and plants and covers
the seed but somehow the seed takes root and it is a plant yielding
fruit ready for harvest.
I do need to
say as we were clearing the brush and weeds I accidentally pulled
that rhubarb out of the ground.
It is like ponds that do not have fish but suddenly have fish. Byrl
will go by a pond and he will say, “I bet there is good fishing
there.” How do you know that? Well it is where it is located.
How do ponds that start out without fish and all of sudden have
fish? There are birds such as cranes that fly from one pond to another.
They could carry fish eggs on their feet and legs, or beak. This
way new ponds get fish without being stocked. Also, if there is
a ditch coming from another pond or creek the fish can travel this
planted tomatoes or rhubarb – not necessarily us and all of
sudden there it is.
It seems so simple but today farmers have modern technology to make
things happen. Don’t they? It is more scientific. There different
kinds of soil enhancers and tricks on how to grow. There are irrigation
systems and special hybrid seeds. I mean how can we not grow something?
It is a mystery even with all our technology. We cannot make anything
happen. It is up to God.
I bet the farmers
now want to do something to make this growing season better. The
corn is low and the leaves are brown in many of the fields that
But like the
farmers, none of us can make all things happen.
HARD TO DO NOTHING
27 and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would
sprout and grow, he does not know how
Esther Buchanan was telling what a busy week she was having last
week and do you know what she did. She wrote in her calendar on
a particular day, “DO NOTHING”
For some of
us we have a hard time doing nothing – it is hard not making
things happen. We love it. We love being a part of the moving and
shaking of the church – moving and shaking in God’s
kingdom. Planting seeds and figuring out how to grow them. But the
scripture today says it really doesn’t come down to us.
There is a value
in doing. Our world revolves around doing – how about if we
I get all of
this. I love to make things happen. I love to be a mover and shaker.
It is in my nature. And now that I dropped a few pounds, I can make
things happen faster. There is more speed in my walk and that means
I can accomplish more things. I know myself.
BEING IN GOD
When we take time being, we allow the Spirit of God to guide and
lead us to the true place of our calling. When we step away from
our “Type A personalities or the “attitude that no one
can do it better than me”, we find that God is doing something.
Sometimes we have this skewed idea that we are responsible for all
the things that are around us.
We spend so
much time for striving and tasking that we miss God in the midst.
We become the “master of our own universe.” We don’t
really notice the small things that God is doing.
So Why not take
a nap and leaving things up to God, there is something comforting
about it. Isn’t there?
BEING IS EFFORTLESS
– PLACE OF REST
Like the birds making nests in the shade – we can find sanctuary
Like the volunteer
tomatoes or the fish that appear in ponds, we wake up one day and
there they are. God is working in the midst and bringing new life
to us - a new way of understanding. Being is a place where we can
recognize our true calling. Being as effortless as it is, it is
a place where we begin to see the things of God in a more delightful
place as king, God took a small shepherd boy and changed him into
a great leader and it took time. He came to being a king because
he had the heart for God. He spent much time in the fields tending
his flock. David had plenty of time of being.
We do the things
God calls us to and we leave the rest of to God. We don’t
strive and wear ourselves out trying to fix things and make things
happen. We don’t know how things are accomplished - it is
a mystery. I watch the transformation of people and think how did
they move from this place to this place? Restoration of relationships!
How’d that happen?
a place of delight. We begin to delight ourselves in God rather
than the work of God.
BEING IS A PLACE
JOKE: There's an old story of an elderly woman who was so frightened
by the possibility of an airplane crash that she would never fly.
Finally, at the urging of her children in a far-off city, she nervously
boarded a plane and flew to visit them. When she got off the aircraft,
she was greeted by her family, who asked, "How was the trip?"
She replied, "Well, I guess it was all right, I didn't put
my whole weight down the whole time we were in the air."
She had to do
A man named Orion Steen has a slogan emblazoned on the cover of
the spare tire on the back of his Suburban Wagon. It reads, “I
CAN’T! GOD CAN! I’LL LET HIM.”
When we stop
doing things and have rest in being in God we find that we gain
a greater sense of trust.
We have plenty
of things that keep us in fear. We can’t rest and we can’t
find a place of being – it makes it difficult to trust God.
We feel that we have to be doing something because we can’t
see God’s work.
BEING IN GOD
RATHER THAN DOING DEVELOPS PATIENCE
Sometimes we do not have a choice of being rather than doing something.
man named James Bain. When he was 19, he was wrongfully convicted
of murdering a young boy and sentenced to life in prison. Thanks
to Florida's Innocence Project as well as DNA forensics testing,
Bain is now a free man but only after spending 35 years behind bars.
How easy would
it have been for Bain to give up, to throw his hands in the air
and not even try to assert his innocence? His hope that he would
be cleared gave him the patience to endure his incarceration. That
is what we have in the midst of being. There is so much we can do
and then we are forced to just be in God. Let the grace of God work
in our midst.
BEING IN GOD
RATHER THAN DOING IS A PLACE OF HOPE AND EXPECTATION
Bain never gave up. He always held out for hope and expected to
What would volunteer
tomatoes look like to you - tomatoes that are not planted on purpose
but tomatoes that are a delightful surprise?
I bet they are
tastier than the ones we have planted because it is so serendipitous.
It is an unexpected pleasure.
I think of all
the things that God has done in our lives that seem like a coincidence
but was really is God’s work in our lives.
We begin to relax in our efforts and trust God’s reign and
we go throughout our day seeing the small seeds growing in our midst.
We see God’s shalom taking hold in the world. It is God’s
healing place. We expect and see God’s work in our midst.
We have hope in our lives because we know that the kingdom of God
is now and in the future.
that happen? It is an awesome proclamation to the mystery of God’s
shalom in the world – reconciling and restoring
all about us doing – sometimes being is a place where we can
see God’s work in the midst of our day – not striving
– but being in the place where seeing God at work.
There are things
that are not seen. Like the volunteer tomatoes seeds scattered throughout
our lives – God’s shalom is scattered throughout the
is now – as small as a mustard seed and as big and full as