Thursday, October 06, 2011

How big is your field?

This post is a follow up to my first post on  Mark 4: 26-29 that you can read here.

Then Jesus said, "God's kingdom is like seed thrown on a field by a man who then goes to bed and forgets about it. The seed sprouts and grows—he has no idea how it happens. The earth does it all without his help: first a green stem of grass, then a bud, then the ripened grain. When the grain is fully formed, he reaps—harvest time!

In our discussion this week someone made a comment about where the seed in the parable is sown. The whole world is God's field. There is not a person or situation that God is not working in at some subterranean level.

When this statement was made I could offer intellectual assent, but I could feel a push back emotionally. There are people, organizations, situations that I really cannot see the work of God in. I find it difficult to imagine God seed being planted in such fields that I label poisonous.

I found some resistance that I'm still having to work through.

My first challenge is that if I take the message of this parable seriously, then I have to let go of many of my judgements around people. I cannot divide the world into good and bad, right and wrong. I cannot discount people I would label fanatic or lunatic because God is at work in that person. If God in his infinite love and grace chooses to pour out his love on somebody, who am I to see that person as somehow less? The same Jesus who loves me, loves them.

But I don't want to change. It's exhausting. It's confusing. It's so much easier for me keep putting my labels on people, organizations and situations, the alternative is overwhelming. A few months ago I wrote this:

"I saw the world in black and white.

When that didn't work I moved to shades of grey,
Now I see even that is too monochromatic.
There is a world of color that I was terrified to let into my checkerboard existence,
And now my eyes have adjusted I cannot go back to that stifling false dichotomy."

And now I discover that I still have adjustments to be made.

Something that is helping me in this is the realization that there is a difference between God working 'in' someone's life and God working 'through' someone's life. Many people and organizations perform actions that seem to run counter to my understanding of the work of God. I think about Westboro Baptist Church planning on picketing Steve Jobs funeral for example. It's difficult for me to imagine God working through that demonstration. However I need to realize that God is still working in the lives of everyone. It's difficult, but I need to learn to not judge the outside of someone, and instead trust that God is indeed working in that person in a way I cannot see.

That is so hard.

To love the unlovable, to extend grace to the graceless....

...and just maybe, God uses my act of extending love instead of judgement to till the soil of my own life and plant new seeds within me.

"If you judge people, you have no time to love them" ~ Mother Theresa

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