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Continue planting seeds in the lives of others

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As a child, I remember helping my dad in our family garden. We began tilling up the soil each spring, and once the soil was ready, we ran rows for planting the seeds. This was my favorite part.

As I dropped the green bean, corn, squash and butterbean seeds in the soil, feelings of hope and anticipation emerged within me. Hope that the seeds would germinate and grow. Anticipation for how delicious those seeds would taste in a few months.

My dad also taught me an important rule in planting. He would say, “Son, make sure you put three or four seeds in each spot to make sure at least one will grow.”

I discovered early in my life that sometimes, seeds do not grow. But this puzzled me. Why did I put multiple seeds in the ground, but only one sprouted and grew? In later years, I discovered scientific reasons why some seeds germinate and others do not. But those answers never satisfied my curious mind.

Even though my gardening days ended when I started college, I discovered that my dad’s rule of planting was still true. The “soil” was now people and the “seeds” were the truth of God’s love and forgiveness. I quickly discovered that these “seeds” I planted in people’s lives did not all sprout and grow. Some grew, but others did not.

Again, I was puzzled. Why did God’s love and forgiveness take root and grow in some people’s lives, while it did not in the lives of others? Jesus taught a parable in Matthew 13 that answered my question. In this parable, a farmer casts seed on four different types of soil. But only one group of seed sprouted and flourished. The other three groups of seed did not.

Seed that fell on the hard soil were plucked up and not given a chance to grow. Seed that fell on the rocky soil both sprouted and dwindled quickly. The seed that fell among the thorns displayed signs of early growth, but like the seed on rocky soil, it dwindled before producing a crop.

This parable answered my question and taught me a valuable principle in life — the condition of the soil dictates growth, but I should never let the condition of the soil dictate my desire to plant seed. The farmer in this parable could have counted his costs and found it foolish to cast seed where chances of growth were slim. But he didn’t. He chose to cast seed on all four types of soil, even though only one group produced a harvest. In this parable, Jesus taught that in God’s kingdom, we should never let the condition of the soil dictate our desire to plant seed.

The different soils in this parable reflect the condition of people’s heart and soul. Some are more receptive to hearing and believing God’s message of hope, love and forgiveness than others. As farmers in God’s kingdom, we should never let the condition of one’s “heart and soul” deter us from casting seeds. For in God’s kingdom, there is always hope and a chance that a seed you plant in someone’s life will sprout, take root and grow to yield fruit in their life. In seasons where it appears that no seed is taking root and growing in those around you, remember that in God’s kingdom, there is always a chance for growth.

To those in our Wake Forest community, let’s continue to plant seeds in the lives of others. May we continue to cast seeds of God’s love, hope and forgiveness in our community, state, country and world. Happy planting.

Chris Walker is the associate pastor of Woodland Baptist Church in Wake Forest.