Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Little Lesson: Book Covers

I like to look at old architecture. I especially like the brick work of some of the buildings from the late 1800s/early 1900s.  I happened to be gazing at the front of a big downtown structure, happily admiring brick patterns, when I glanced up at the roof. There, proudly growing from the top of the three-story building, stood a little tree. Not like a potted plant, a real tree. Since there aren't many of those downtown, I imagine that seed traveled a distance before it found itself deposited in years of dust and debris on the rooftop.  There, high above the sidewalks, it got lots of sun and rain with very little worry. Nobody was up there to trample on it except the pigeons.

Now, if I was planting seeds, I don't think "plant it on the roof" would even be on my list of things to do.  A 100 year old roof doesn't look like much.  One hundred years of pigeon poop on top of decaying shingles? No thanks.

Well, what's to learn from a little tree way up high?  One little seed landed in a place that none of us would have thought of planting.  A place out of the reach of most, covered with many years worth of debris. A place most of us would consider highly undesirable for planting, and out of that place came forth new life.

We have been sent out to plant seeds, and it's so easy to overlook some people, the ones who are about as desirable as that dropping-covered rooftop.  They've got long histories filled with messes and heaps of broken shingles, and they seem to be rotting out from underneath.  Nothing is going to grow there. Let's move on. We forget that " The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."  1 Samuel 16   

Mark 4:3 "Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, multiplying thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times." 9 Then Jesus said, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear." 10 When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables. 11 He told them, "The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables 12 so that, " 'they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!' " 13 Then Jesus said to them, "Don't you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? 14 The farmer sows the word. 15 Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. 16 Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. 17 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 18Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. 20 Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop--thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown."

Jesus doesn't ask us to decide the soil type before we plant the seeds. He only asks us to plant them. 

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