Friday, November 2, 2012

God's Generosity Doesn't Run Out

Why are there so many acorns this year?

"The farmer, without preparation, just went out and began to sling the seed. This is farming Jesus style...The Master seems to find more joy in careless sowing, miraculous growing, and reckless harvesting than in taxonomy of the good from the bad, the worthwhile from the worthless, the saved from the damned." Will Willimon, Why Jesus?, p.78.

It's a rare autumn in Houston. Everywhere we walk, there's the crunch of a live oak acorn. They remind me of the larger ones seen every fall in my native Ohio. They're  so plentiful there that my buddies and I could fill trash cans and buckets, then spend the rest of the day chucking them at each other.

The wonder is how in the world do any of these odd little nuts turn out to become anything at all! But they do!

Richard Lischer, who well chronicles his first pastorate in Open Secrets, sheds light on this parable of Jesus from Matthew 13. Lischer served a rural parish where the calendar was set by the corn harvest. The earliest planting came from seeds first dedicated and blessed in church, and with pomp, processed by church members out to the field, then planted in the ground. 

Like acorns scattered all over the place and landing where they will not grow, farming Jesus style starts with abundance and generosity- not efficiency. Church usually knows better, deciding that the farmer could really do a better job of projecting favorable results, controlling risks, and being fruitful.  If the sower only knew that so much of this seed will not make it to maturity. After all, there's only so much there.  

But when Jesus got around to talking about actual seed growth, he referred to the marvel of life sustaining more and more life! (Mark 4: 26 ff.) Unlike the one-talent servant who is dead wrong about the master reaping where he did not sow (25:14 ff.), God is always sowing everywhere, and God gives life to all creatures. (Psalm 104) And God pours life and love- Holy Spirit- into anyone, anyone who simply asks! (Luke 11: 13) 

The real miracle- and our purest joy- can be that God, in the love of the Trinity, never ever runs out of giving life- to all, here, now and forever.            

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