Thursday, February 19, 2009

Student Devotions - Thursday, February 19th

Good morning students. Either you are very happy this morning or disappointed, depending on what you were hoping from the snowfall. In either case I am sure you will be productive today.

In Mark 4 we find a series of parables related to farming. They speak of the condition of our heart, the need for us to be honest with God and not do anything in secret, the manner in which even the smallest thing in the Kingdom can grow into something huge. But the one I want you to consider this morning is the one that deals primarily with growth. Yes, they all include growth but this one tells us who is responsible for the growth:

He also said, "This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come."

Farming is a tough business. It is tough because the farmer is not in control. He can prepare the soil, clearing it, tilling it, applying fertilizer, but it still depends on things he has no control over. The soil must be good soil. There has to be rain, but not too much. There has to be plenty of sunshine but not too hot and it can't be too cold. At the end of the day all a farmer can do is plant the seed and hope.

There is also an order to that growth. Jesus describes it; first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. Since the first seed was planted things have been maturing. Whether we can see it our not there has been a spiritual progression taking place; th Kingdom has been growing and maturing through history. Our understanding has been growing and maturing. Time has been moving on, events are taking place, things are getting closer to the harvest and there is nothing that anyone can do but wait for that harvest.

It speaks of the Kingdom on a whole but it also touches on points of maturity in our own lives. We are in a process of growth; there is an order to it. Some would call it an evolution but I do not see the growth of grain as an evolution. Things are progressing and growing as God had intended. It is the same for us. We all must start as a new born. We do not come out walking and talking. We have to go through the process of childhood and adolescence before we reach adulthood. Even in obtaining adulthood there are various stages of maturity. We cannot skip ahead; we must walk through each stage.

What is true for us physically is also true for us spiritually. We are in a process of growth. We are being led through that process at just the right speed. We cannot skip ahead; we must take it one step at a time as the Spirit leads us though. Most of you are in that place of discovery and application. You are at the place where God either becomes real to you or a fairy tale. Often your next step will involve some sort of crisis of belief where you have to make that clear choice to believe. Great things follow that decision but they do not come before that decision.

It may seem like a rollercoaster ride to you sometimes, with your emotions all over the place, and no clear direction, but you are not alone. Just like that seed is not left alone. There is not a lot the farmer can do but there is someone responsible for the harvest and he is the same one responsible for you. You may not know the next step. You may not understand what is going on and how everything will be resolved, but the Father knows. He knows and he is very active in your life, sending the rain at just the right moment and the sunshine to follow. We may not like the storms in our lives but they serve a purpose.

So do not think you are unique in that no one has faced what you are facing. Do not think this momentary moment in your life will destroy you. Do not think that you have been set adrift in life. Trust the one who has given you life and who has put everything in motion. He loves you. He knows what he is doing.

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