For nearly four decades, a man in India has worked to bring a scorched, sandy wasteland back to life. Seeing how erosion and changing ecosystems had destroyed the river island he loved, he began to plant one tree at a time, bamboo then cotton. Now, lush forests and abundant wildlife fill more than 1,300 acres. However, the man insists the rebirth was not something he made happen. Acknowledging the amazing way the natural world is designed, he marvels at how seeds are carried to fertile ground by the wind. Birds and animals participate in sowing them as well, and rivers also contribute in helping plants and trees flourish.
Creation works in ways we can’t comprehend or control. According to Jesus, this same principle applies to the kingdom of God. “This is what the kingdom of God is like,” Jesus said. “A man scatters seed on the ground . . . the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how” (Mark 4:26–27). God brings life and healing into the world as pure gifts, without our manipulation. We do whatever God asks us of us, and then we watch life emerge. We know that everything flows from His grace.
It’s tempting to believe we’re responsible to change someone’s heart or ensure results for our faithful efforts. However, we need not live under that exhausting pressure. God makes all our seeds grow. It’s all grace.
When are you tempted to think it’s your job to make things happen or grow? Why is it vital for you to trust God’s grace rather than your own effort?
In Mark 4 (see also Matthew 13:1–3; Luke 5:1–3), Mark tells us the crowd that gathered to hear Jesus speak was so large that He climbed into a boat to teach them. Why do that? Because sound travels farther on the water. And on the shores of the Sea of Galilee or Lake of Gennesaret (also called Sea of Tiberias) near Capernaum is a naturally formed amphitheater. It slopes downward to the sea on an inlet or bay—today called the Bay of Parables—where a crowd of thousands could have comfortably sat and where the acoustics would have made it easy for the people to hear Christ’s words.
To learn more about the geography of the biblical land visit christianuniversity.org/NT110.