There is a display in my local supermarket that sells the most gorgeous plants and flowers. Yes, if you’re a regular flower-buyer, like me, you’ll understand that supermarket flowers are never the first pick because the majority you tend to find is a bunch of plastic-wrapped, bedraggled flowers that either looks like the delivery truck backed over them, not once, but twice, or they’ve just crawled three days through the outback desert, desperately hoping for some water. However, this beautiful, strategically placed, purposely planted display sits parallel with your eye line as you enter the supermarket, and like bees to nectar, women buzz around it because of its inviting posture and how it’s positioned that just completely draws everybody in.
As I think about the flower display and all the seeds that have been purposely planted so they grow into these beautiful flowers to attract and welcome people in, I think about the Church. Each one of us has been purposely planted because God wants to draw people to Himself. Jesus tells a parable in Luke chapter 8 about seeds and plants and bearing fruit, revealing truths that invite us to ask questions.
“Once a farmer went out to scatter seed in his fields. Some seeds fell along a trail where they were crushed underfoot by people walking by. Birds flew in and ate those seeds. Other seeds fell on gravel. Those seeds sprouted but soon withered, depleted of moisture under the scorching sun. Still, other seeds landed among thorns where they grew for a while, but eventually, the thorns stunted them so they couldn’t thrive or bear fruit. But some seeds fell into good soil -soft, moist, free from thorns. These seeds not only grew, but they also produced more seeds, a hundred times what the farmer originally planted.” Luke 8:5-8 (The Voice Translation)
Some people when they read this parable believe the seeds are about evangelism. But I believe there are deeper truths Jesus wants us to know. In verse 17, Jesus says that “Hidden things will always come out into the open. Secret things will come to light and be exposed.” I think Jesus was talking about believer’s hearts because this parable is all about people hearing and receiving the voice of God.
Like most supermarket flowers, I’ve seen too many believers allow their spiritual life to become a sad display of bedraggled, run over by a truck looking flowers, rather than growing into good soil and maturing into great plants that shine with the Creators love. No one is going to want to buy into half-dead, depleted displays that have no longevity.
Purposely planted people understand that they need to look after their seed by keeping it away from birds and thorns. Flowers that show a range of expressions like, joy that overflows, peace that subdues, patience that endures, kindness in action, a life full of virtue, faith that prevails, gentleness of heart, and strength of spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) is what people are attracted to.
This is not to say that we all wear the “I’m ok” church mask every Sunday. But what I am saying is that purposely planted people know how precious the seed is and they water it regularly with God’s Word and prayer. And most importantly, they have not allowed the darkness and dirt piled on top of them to stop them from reaching onwards and upwards into the light. They just know that they are strategically placed and purposely planted to draw people toward God.
Philippians 4:6-9 reminds us to keep our thoughts fixed on what is authentic, real, honourable, and admirable, beautiful, and respectful, pure, and holy, merciful, and kind. This organic fertiliser will do wonders to keep your seeds growing and improve your soil quality. And do you want to know the best news? These seeds not only grew, but they also produced more seeds, a hundred times what the farmer originally planted.”
What truth have you learned from reading the parable of the sower in Luke chapter 8?