This is an adapted form of the sermon I preached this morning. The gospel reading was Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30.
I am no expert on farming, but it seems to me that the guy in this parable is irresponsible and wasteful. He goes out to sow seed, and what does he do? He just throws it everywhere. Everywhere! The rocks, the thorns, the road. In those days sowing was done by hand. And I’m no expert on farming, but if I were sowing by hand, then I think I could at least avoid the road.
Surely he could have focused more, paid more attention. After all, that would be a much better use of his seeds, a much better use of his time. Better stewardship. This sower acts as though he has all the seeds in the world, and as though he has unlimited time. He acts as though has far more than he needs, so he can be wasteful like this.
Yet somehow, he reaps an extraordinary harvest. I have read that harvests of four-fold to ten-fold were considered pretty good in Jesus’ day, and fifteen-fold was an exceptional year. But here this irresponsible, wasteful sower reaps a harvest that’s thirty-fold, sixty-fold, a hundredfold! Unheard of!
It seems to me that this sower is an image of God, showing us that God sometimes seems to be irresponsible and wasteful. God throws grace around on the good and on the evil, on the wicked, on the lazy, on the kind, on the peaceful, on the cruel, on everyone. God pours rain and sunshine on the whole world, and grace and love and every good gift. God doesn’t always focus where we think he should. Sometimes we see good things happening to others, and it even feels like God isn’t sowing among us anymore. And somehow, despite all this, God always reaps an extraordinary harvest. God’s Word just grows and grows.
See, I think God is like a dandelion.
Dandelions are irresponsible and wasteful too. When their flower goes to seed, that seed flies wherever the wind takes it, or wherever a child’s breath takes it. And you know, some of that seed ends up on the sidewalk. And some of it ends up in the rocks. And some of it ends up in the thorns. But you know what? There are still lots of dandelions next year; heck, there are still lots of dandelions next week! More and more and more and more. There are just so many seeds to go around, and they go everywhere. And sometimes, even the ones that land on the sidewalk, the most useless ones of all…well, they grow too, right through the crack. Dandelions seem to know that there’s enough soil around. There’s enough wind, enough water. And there’s enough seed. When they go to seed, they just let go, and their seed flies everywhere, and it yields a hundredfold, or seems to. Ever try to get rid of dandelions?
What if the dandelions are right?
What if they’re right that there’s enough to go around? What if God is right? What if God is right that there’s enough to go around?
We are taught to believe that things are scarce. Act now, because this deal won’t last. There’s not enough money. Not enough time. Not enough work. Not enough people. Not enough faith. Not enough of anything to make the future okay. Not enough, not enough, not enough.
I once went to a workshop called “Do What Matters.” One of the exercises was to talk about what you remembered from childhood. We all remembered that things were really good back when we were kids. But here’s what was fascinating: we all grew up in different decades, the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s. And we all remembered the decade of our childhood as the time when everything was okay, the time when we had enough.
And many people who grew up earlier than that have told me about their memories of the Great Depression, a time when things certainly seemed scarce. Unemployment was 25%! But almost without fail, these people have told me that things were good then. Because people got along. Or because people helped each other. Or because parents took care of them.
Kids who are loved are like dandelions. Kids who are loved always just know that there’s enough. Kids don’t question that. Oh, sure, kids can be greedy and want more, more, more. But it’s because they really think that there’s enough. They think their parents have enough money, enough time, enough of everything. Kids are the ones who blow dandelion seeds all around.
What if the kids are right? What if the dandelions are right? What if God is right?
What if it’s true that even in the midst of times as tough as the Great Depression, God always gives us everything we need? What if it’s true that even then, there’s enough?
I’m not saying there are no problems. There certainly are problems, some of them serious. But what if we have everything we need to solve those problems? What if God has given us every tool, every skill, every person we need to solve the problems we face? What if we can face our problems, without being afraid and worried? What if we have enough? What if God’s right?
How would your life be different? If God were right that you have enough time, exactly as much as you need, how would you spend that time differently? What would you stop doing, or start doing? If God were right that you have exactly as much money as you need, how would you spend that money differently? If God were right that he has provided everyone with every good gift they need, then how would you allow God to use you to provide those gifts for others? If God were right about this, what would you stop worrying about? What problem would you face head on? How would your life be different this week?
I invite you to write an answer to that right now. Keep it with you throughout the week. Share it with your family if you like. Look at it each day, and allow God to remind you that there is enough.