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August 9th Devotion

“Other seed fell on good soil and bore fruit…” Matthew 13: 8a

A tree fell down in the parsonage yard last year leaving a blank area. Wayne and I decided to plant some bee balm in the space to attract pollinators. We anxiously watched and waited for our bee balm to sprout. Much to our surprise our bee balm is growing tomatoes and some kind of gourd. So far, there is no evidence of the brightly colored spiky pollinator we planted but we’re happy none the less.

The seeds which germinated were not what we had expected or even desired.

Jesus’ parable of the Sower is a surprise for those who listen. Sometimes our faith soil is rich and nutritious. Sometimes our faith soil feels dry and parched. Sometimes we are surprised by the growth in another’s faith soil. God brings forth all growth. God is well known for bringing forth unexpected growth in unexpected places and among unexpected people.

The parable is told in Matthew’s gospel during a time when people are trying to restrict Jesus and his teaching. His family, his friends, the Pharisees are beginning to get a bit uncomfortable with all the planting he is doing. They fear he will be hurt; they fear he will attract more followers. The deepest fear is what if he is right? What if God cannot be contained by our rules and sense of order? What if God can bring forth abundant life in places we may not consider “good soil”?

God is always surprising us and showing up in our lives in unexpected ways. Faith is keeping our ears listening and our eyes open to God’s unexpected growth so we can take notice. Matthew ends this section with Jesus saying. “Happy are your eyes because they see. Happy are your ears because they hear. I assure you that many prophets and righteous people wanted to see what you see and hear what you hear, but they didn’t.” (Matthew 13:16-17)

A warning that even good, well-intentioned righteous people can miss what God is doing in our world. Sometimes the unexpected is quite delightful. I know, because my bee balm is giving me a nice tomato this summer.

Faithfully Yours,

Rev. Wendy

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