Scattered Hope

In Luke 8:4-15, Jesus tells his listeners a parable, or a story with a point.  The parable mentions a farmer who spreads seeds along the ground, looking to grow some plants.  This parable, like many we find in Scripture is rich with meaning, and doubtless, thousands of sermons have been preached to warn and encourage hundreds of thousands of people over the years.

I won’t try to provide another in-depth look, today.  Usually, I really enjoy taking a passage of Scripture, breaking it down, discussing the major and minor themes, and putting the whole thing back together again with a new understanding of God and my relationship to Him.

Not today, though.

Instead, I want to direct your attention to one word tucked away within these verses, and share my own reaction to it.

Jesus tells us:

8:5 “A farmer went out to plant his seed. As he scattered it across his field…

What did He do with the seed?  He scattered it.  Later on, Jesus would tell his disciples the seed was God’s Word, which would indicate the farmer is God, Himself.  Keep that image close, and it might just change how you think about God.

Why does a farmer plant seed?  That’s easy… to harvest a crop.  They’ll go to great lengths to tend their fields in an effort to produce a bountiful crop, and it all starts with a tiny seed.  They’ll give a whole season of hard work, watering and tending the plants — each born from a tiny seed.

Seeds really are incredible, you know?  Encapsulated in each seed we can find the necessary materials and biological processes needed to brighten the landscape, feed the hungry, protect the topsoil, or even produce life-giving oxygen.  Spiritual seed does much the same on a different, level.  God’s Word has the power to change us, change the world, and bring life to any barren soul.

Every seed, be it physical or spiritual, represents astonishing potential.

Each seed is a tiny bundle of Hope.

So, what does that tell us about God?  The notion that He is constantly scattering the seed of His Word tells me God is full to bursting with hope — hope that the seeds of His Word will take root in our lives and help us to grow into the beautiful harvest He always meant for us to be.

God knows not everyone will respond to His Word as we should, and it cannot help but grieve Him when the soil rejects the seed, or when the thorns grow, or when we don’t grow strong roots and we fade.  That’s never what He wants for us.  Still, knowing far more will reject Him than accept Him, He refuses to stop scattering seeds.  He hasn’t given up, no matter how many of us turn aside.

What do you do when you scatter something, anyway?  Do you keep it confined to one little area?  No!  Not content with planting a few plants in neat rows, like many of us do when we try to start a garden, God spreads His Word all around the world, across all cultures and people.  He reaches out to everyone, whether we grew up believing in Him, or not.  Whatever our cultural background, personal history, political leanings, status, or personal sins, God desperately wants us to have a restored relationship with Him.

Look at how much He has done to make that possible!  He moved people, families, and even empires, then sent His Son, the Living Word to scatter more seeds.  He loves us so much, even the pain, the loss, and the rejection is worth the risk.  All for the joy of redemption.

He’s not looking to condemn us, not eagerly waiting to punish us, not seeking the next opportunity to strike us down — far from it.  The next time you think of God, see the farmer, scattering His seeds in the field — hoping for the growth He can bring if we’ll let Him.

Hope — that’s how God looks to me, right now.