If you see a farmer planting, what do you notice? 

Probably it’s the huge tractor pulling a multirow planter – powerful and impressive equipment that’s loaded with technology to make planting efficient. For instance, its GPS is accurate within inches! 

Yet that equipment, and the skill of the farmer using it, would be useless without something we don’t see – the seed that’s being planted.  

Next Sunday we will hear a story told by Jesus that celebrates both the seed that grows to harvest even when the farmer is asleep, and the involvement of the farmer in planting and harvesting. 

Jesus tells of the creative power of God so that a seed germinates, grows, and yields a harvest on its own. We’re reminded how dependent farmers and gardeners are on soil and weather and not least on the power of the seeds to do what they’re made to do. A seed is a small but not at all insignificant miracle of God’s creation. Humans are actually not necessary for a seed to grow to maturity. 

At the same time, humans can make a huge difference in supporting the seed and plant as it grows. Modern scientific knowledge can help a lot! Soil tests show what kind of fertilizer is best. There always seem to be weeds and pests, and we know ways to deal with them. If it’s dry, we can provide water. We can even grow plants indoors where almost everything is controlled – except all still depends on the seed doing its thing. 

Put these together and we have a description of God’s dominion that’s active, growing, both completely dependent of God and inviting our involvement. 

Next Sunday’s theme, “Created to Be Disciples,” continues our look at our place in God’s creation. 

It’s unique in the “Created to Be…” series in that all the other themes are adjectives such as restored, redeemed, and bold. Only this one is a noun. The other themes are all characteristics of disciples. 

In the ELCA Youth Gathering from which the series is taken, “Created to Be Disciples” comes last. 

Yet it’s appropriate for us to have it in the middle because that reminds us we’re in a vital process of depending on God and living as disciples.  

Here it might be helpful to note just what a disciple is. Synonyms are follower, adherent, devotee, apostle, enthusiast, believer, booster, fan, groupie, supporter, apprentice, admirer, trainee, mentee, student, and intern. Which of these would you claim to describe yourself in relation to Jesus? 

Actually, the definition of “disciple” is more focused: a disciple is “one who embraces and assists in, spreading the teachings on another;” “an active, convinced adherent;” someone who “believes in the ideas and principles of someone famous and tries to live the way that person does or did.” 

Note that a disciple is not only a convinced believer, but also someone active in living out those beliefs and spreading them. As the ELCA Youth Gathering puts it: “We are created to be disciples, to be sent out into the world to love our neighbor just as we are loved by God.” 

God’s creative power and love fills us and energizes us – a free gift! And then we’re privileged to serve as God’s hands and feet and voice and heart in supporting the mission of what God is doing in the world. 

Sometimes we don’t see it – like the seed growing while the planter is sleeping. But then we notice the green in the field. We can be hopeful of a harvest. 

For Sunday, you might consider:  

  • How have you planted seeds of love, and have you seen them grow?  
  • What seeds planted by others have you nurtured?  
  • Where do you see evidence of God’s work in the world?  
  • What does it mean for you to be a disciple of Jesus?