I like to think I’m the patient type. I have so many faults, so I’m sometimes hopeful that impatience is not one of them.
However, when I read this kingdom parable I see myself in a different light. I’m extraordinarily impatient when it comes to planting.
I’m a gardener, and I’m okay with plants once they get above ground. For the most part.
In planting season, and thereafter until the last harvest, I stop by my garden nearly every day to see how everyone is doing. There are little miracles each day.
That zucchini that was just an inch long yesterday is 2 ½ inches long today. I know that a day will come before long when I will happen upon one that’s been hiding under the leaves and has become the size of a small submarine because I missed seeing it.
The tomatoes are getting interesting. Lettuce is about done and will need to be pulled up soon to make room for more beans. The okra is blooming earlier than usual this year. We already have some small peppers.
But it’s the things that grow underground that give me fits. That’s because I can’t see them.
Potatoes are the worst. You have to wait until harvest to see if anything is there. We grow in raised beds, with very loose soil, so sometime soon I will explore the soil very gently with my hands in the soil to see if I can feel any mature potatoes.
When I find one, I’ll break it off from the root and pull it into the light so I can see it.
A beautiful reward for waiting.
That’s what the kingdom of God is like. And no, I didn’t make that up. Jesus said it. You scatter seeds. Go to sleep. Wake up. Repeat. Then one day it’s harvest time and the wheat is mature.
The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. [from Mark 4]
I think God’s kingdom may be more like planting potatoes. You can’t really see what’s happening until harvest time. But all the while, the thing you planted is developing into something valuable. Invisible, yes, but growing nonetheless.
The kind way you raised your children will probably someday, some way, help to make them into kind people. The justice you work for now may not be harvested for years, even decades. The way you treat someone else will likely come back to you in similar form. The time you spend in volunteering or study or prayer and meditation or family life or your job will make you a better person, and those around you will also benefit.
One day that potato will see the light of day, and when you add the butter and sour cream of experience, the product will be rich and delicious.
Too much on the potato metaphor? Yes, I think you’re right…
Patience is the key.
Do the right thing. Then just wait. The kingdom will grow.
© Melissa Bane Sevier, 2015