And he said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. Mark 4:26-27
Pastors love preaching the life of Christ. From the prophecies of the coming Messiah in Advent to His Glorious ascension to the Father’s right hand. Laypeople love the progression that takes place from the readings to the hymns with the varied themes during the festival season of the church year. After Pentecost and Trinity Sunday, congregations settle into the season that focuses on the life of the Church. The “highs and lows” of Advent and Christmas, Lent and Easter are exchanged for the ordinary or common season that runs throughout the summer and fall. The rhythm of the church year becomes a great metaphor for the life of the Christian. While we all endure times of hardship and affliction and even times of celebration, most of our days are quite ordinary. This is part of the benefit of the church as a tool for teaching about growing in the faith even on an ordinary Wednesday in July.
Matthew 13 and Mark 4 are two chapters that contain several parables where Jesus is teaching about the Kingdom of God by using agricultural metaphors. Seed and fruit, sun and rain are all concepts that Christ’s hearers of every age can comprehend. In Mark 4:26-29, Jesus explains that the seed sprouts and grows even though the Sower does not know how. God brings forth fruit and growth the same way He always has through the sowing of the seed, which is the Word of God. If congregation members are surveyed, there are lots of things that they would identify that they feel their church needs. However, my one prayer for our congregations is that they would read, mark, learn and take to heart the Word of God. It is only by the Word that the Reformation occurred. It is only by the Word that God will transform individuals, families and congregations today.
So what can you as an individual or as a congregation do to help your congregation? Hold the Word of God sacred and gladly hear and learn it. By this seed, God gives growth. It might not always be numerical growth, but growth in the Spirit, in faith, and in love is growth that is needed and for which we can give thanks to God. So during this ordinary season, may you be blessed as you hear, sing, and study God’s Word and as He brings forth growth! And if you’re looking for a place to start reading God’s Word, read Matthew 13 and Mark 4 to get started and then ask your pastor where to go next.
Prayer - Blessed Lord, you have given us your Holy Scriptures for our learning. May we so hear them, read, learn, and take them to heart, that being strengthened and comforted by your holy Word, we may cling to the blessed hope of everlasting life, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Fraternally in Christ,
President Lee Hagan