We have been all about seeds at our house these days. For Father’s Day we got my husband a squirrel feeder and a bird feeder. Every squirrel in a five mile radius must be aware of both, as they are entirely emptied each day and the bird feeder is knocked down and rolled out onto our sidewalk each morning. I don’t know if any birds are benefitting but my husband is literally the “Squirrel Man” of the neighborhood.
Our wee one, “Chewie,” looks forward to re-filling that feeder every night. We go out in the yard after he implores us over and over for seeds. He calls them “wees” which somehow makes it even harder to say no to. His baby hands clumsily dump seeds into the apple shaped bird feeder and when we go inside to escape the heat he cries out tearfully “Wees. WEES.” Later, as I rock him, he quietly sings “Nigh-night wees. Nigh-night wees.”
We got a little extra “wees” this week. At church on Sunday, our pastor preached a very touching sermon on The Parable of the Sower. This is one of the parables of Jesus, found in the New Testament. A brief summary:
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, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.” – Mark 4 3:9
Seeds of faith are scattered on soil that is either good or not good. In some places it thrives, in others it shrivels and dies.
I have always had a hard time with this scripture. Because, after all, if I have rocky, dry soil, is it not the soil God gave me?
Where we live, the soil is hard and filled with rock. Bless your heart if you have to do some digging in our yard. It will require of you some heavy machinery. The soil is not perfect here. It takes work to cultivate anything in our soil. Tilling, raking, and probably some equipment powered by more than just elbow grease.
Maybe that is what faith is supposed to be like. Too often, I think, we expect faith to come easily and stay strong – to thrive – on its own. Perhaps some people have that kind of soil.
Wouldn’t it be awesome if our belief in God resulted in delivery of a Hogwarts Acceptance Letter Owl type of message that read:
Congratulations on your recent decision to believe in God. Guess what?! You chose wisely! There is a God! Everything you believe to be true really IS true. Don’t be afraid to die, because when you do, you will be chillaxin’ in heaven with God and everyone you love will be made perfect and whole. All those things that seem unfair? Some day you will understand all of it! Congrats again, and go in good faith confident that all of those prayers you’re sending up are being received, reviewed and answered immediately!
If that is what faith was, it wouldn’t be faith. Faith is, after all, belief in what we “cannot see” (Hebrews 11:1). If faith were like that, everyone would believe. And we would never have questions. And we wouldn’t have to tend our spiritual soil either.
My faith takes work. If I didn’t do the work to nourish and nurture the seeds of faith in myself, I have no doubt that it would shrivel and eventually die.
For me, faith is NOT easy… but it’s worth fighting for.
At night, in the hot summer hum of crickets and locusts, we scatter seeds for the squirrels. And a lot of them slip out of my baby’s hands and fall onto the cracked pavement of our front steps. I scoop them up and pour them into the feeders or throw them in the grass for the squirrels. And the ones that fall through the cracks… the squirrels find them anyway. Each one of them disappears and becomes miraculous sustenance. The squirrels don’t leave thank you notes, but I’d like to think they appreciate the Squirrel Man, his family, and all the free “wees.”