Recently I have been getting in to the whole gardening thing. It’s a bit surprising, because I am definitely not a fan of dirt. And living in a terraced house I don’t really have a lot of scope for proper gardening. We’ve got some tubs out back and a little patch in the front.
I like to have a bit of variety and so this year when I ordered my seeds I know I have ordered far too many (for example, I want one or two chilli plants but I have to buy a packet of 6 seeds – you get the idea). In fact I ordered so many items I got a packet of 1500 free poppy seeds.
So, what am I supposed to do with those when I’m already overcrowding all my plants?
Someone suggested I sprinkle them in the (cobbled) back alley so they can grow in the dirt there. Someone else suggested outside my workplace, which is poorly tended to (lots of weeds)!
My initial response was to think that would be a waste. We all know the parable Jesus told about the farmer who sowed seeds. Those seeds that fell on to rocky ground won’t be able to grow decent roots, those that landed amongst the weeds will be choked out, and so on.
Sometimes in life we can feel like we have a wealth of seeds and nowhere to sow them – we have the gospel to share but nowhere good to share it. So we store our seeds away for what we perceive to be a better opportunity.
The thing is, I actually now have an abundance of seeds. So I don’t really need to save them for later. What appears to me to be a potential waste may in fact be a place where seeds can be successfully grown. If I throw 2 or 3 hundred seeds down in my alley, probably most won’t grow. But while I see only cobbles, a few seeds may well land in the cracks and get their roots into the ground through gaps I can’t see. They certainly won’t if I don’t sow them.
The parable is a great at explaining why the seeds we plant don’t always make it, but it’s not an excuse stop trying to grow things based on our own preconceptions of the conditions.
And anyway, do we really think we are going to run out of seeds?