George A. Bowers Sr.: Don’t lock up God’s seed
It is exhilarating to see the Shenandoah Valley growing green and tall this spring. Gardens are filling out, cornfields are stretching higher, and the wheat crop is nearly ready. Though things could turn dry later in the summer, for now, it looks like another banner crop-growing year. Those who planted tiny seeds in faith weeks ago now look like geniuses while those who fearfully hesitated now seem like idiots.
Seeds are incredibly powerful little creations. They may appear lifeless and dead, but given a little moisture and warmth, they begin to take off. This time of year, we marvel as the sprouts they produce even burst through concrete and grow up through asphalt. A turnip seed will grow 15,000 times its size and weight in a single day and who can say how much a tiny acorn increases over 100 years as it matures into a towering white oak?
As seeds grow they transform their surroundings from bare soil to fields, forests, or gardens covered with corn, tomatoes, soybeans, or whatever God programmed them to become. Their end results are then used to nourish and support all other life forms on the planet just as God prescribed in the first chapter of the Bible.
Every so often one of the television networks airs an informative program about an abandoned Norwegian coal mine that is being used to store many different varieties of seeds. Three hundred and ninety feet down, deep inside a sandstone mountain, protected by advanced security systems, packed in four-ply packets and specially sealed to exclude moisture, nearly a million seed samples from all over the Earth are carefully sheltered.
Although this may seem a bit extreme, over 1,750 such seed vaults exist around the world to protect our food supply from natural or man-made disasters. And while such storage facilities might be acceptable for security purposes, seeds were not created to be preserved in some vault. God made them to be planted and to produce abundant increase. You can almost hear those little fellas deep in the caverns screaming for some moist soil and sunlight.
In Matthew 13, Jesus compared God’s word to mighty seeds and indeed it is capable of breaking through the hardest hearts. It can burst through the concrete of racism and poverty, drug abuse and broken families. It can overcome depression and inspire compassion. It can transform individuals, families, communities, and entire societies. But in order for it to do any of these, we have to plant it.
Imagine if the seed scientists failed to share their stored seeds after some catastrophe as the world’s populations began starving. Such an action would be inhumane at best and criminal at worst. I fear that we Christians are sometimes like seed vaults carefully protecting God’s powerful Word instead of getting it into the ground around us. Jesus guaranteed an abundant harvest if we do our part, but none of that will happen if we keep the saving seed all locked up. To keep such a treasure to ourselves is sinful and evil.
In eternity, we will wish we had planted far more of his seed and allowed more of it to take root in our own lives. But it’s too late to plant the fields in August. That must be done in faith back in early spring. Our families and churches must seek the most effective ways to plant, fertilize and water the seed of God’s word now.
As we behold the valley’s lush green growth this week, let’s look for opportunities to sow God’s seed and expect him to produce the abundant harvest he’s promised.
George Bowers Sr. is the pastor of Antioch Church of the Brethren in Woodstock and the author of four books, including his latest book of poetry, “Wit and Wisdom of the Woods.” He can be reached at email@example.com.