There it was, just ahead of me on the sidewalk: a familiar, bright yellow dandelion, the harbinger of spring, growing out of a narrow crack in the concrete pavement. Somehow, a lone seed from the previous year had landed in the crack and found enough fertile soil to take root and bloom. It brought to mind a recent sermon on the parable of the sower and the seeds.
Luke 8:5-8 – A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown. (NIV 2011)
For me, the most pertinent point of the sermon was that even some of the seeds that landed on rocky ground could eventually come into bloom. I lived for many years on skid row as an alcoholic, and the soil of my soul had become very rocky ground. It was hardened, poisoned, and covered by the rocks of despair from the starkness of my daily grind for survival. I was emotionally and spiritually dead, detached from life, from self, and, most importantly, from God. Although many of God’s servants sowed the seeds of salvation, I was totally incapable of responding. Some people even turned away from me in frustration, feeling that their best efforts were being wasted on me. I felt that I had been abandoned to the dismal fate of an alcoholic death.
I now firmly believe that it was the Spirit of almighty God that came to me one night as I sat behind a green dumpster, drinking a bottle of rum. I had an insight, a voice as clear as a bell, a gentle voice from within me that said, “You were not born to live this way. You were not meant to die this way.” That luminous moment of insight was the beginning of my journey towards Jesus, towards the light of life.
The living seed of God, sown by the servants of God years before, began to blossom in the dry soil of my soul. The Lord Jesus gently led me to the foot of His cross, where I eventually knelt, confessed my sinfulness, and admitted my need of His all-saving grace. All honour and glory be to God, for without His saving grace, I would still be counted amongst the lost souls. I will also be eternally grateful for all of God’s people who, with patience and persistence, continued to sow the seeds of salvation. Today, through the eternal message of the gospel, I am able to love without fear, to embrace life with all of its vagaries, and to live life to its fullest.
The important point is that as Christians, we ought never to turn away from people in desperate and disparate circumstances, no matter whether we feel that our best efforts to sow the seeds of our Lord are landing on deaf ears. We never know when or where those seeds will take root and flourish in even the most broken of souls. By the great commission left by Jesus, we, His friends and servants, are to be the sowers of the seeds, the fishers of souls. It is to be left to God alone, through His will and by the power of the Holy Spirit, to furnish the nourishment of His grace, so that some of the seeds that we sow may someday thrive, even in the most rock-strewn and desolate of human hearts.
Prayer: Dear Lord, with Your help and grace, may we become sowers of the seeds of Your Word, and may Your seeds return to you a hundredfold. May we always in word and deed give witness to the redeeming love and grace of Your Son, our dear Lord Jesus. Amen.
Vernon, British Columbia, Canada