And He said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground, and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how. For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head. But when the grain ripens, immediately he puts in the sickle because the harvest has come.” (Mark 4:26-29)
Growth In The Kingdom
Creation has its own powerful testimony to the creative hand of God. Science has unlocked many of the world’s mysteries, but the answer behind creation escapes those who deny God created the world. Jesus uses many illustrations in His teaching to point out the character of the kingdom. The sowing of seed, wheat and tares growing together, shepherds and sheep, and workers in a vineyard are the subjects of the parables of Jesus. In a parable only found in the gospel of Mark, Jesus describes the kingdom as a seed growing in the ground that comes to perfection and is harvested by the farmer. The nature of a seed buried in the ground and then one day a man harvesting a crop of grain defies the knowledge of man. He knows it happens but cannot fully explain how it happens. Science can describe the process, but the life in the seed remains outside the realm of scientific discovery. This belongs to the mind of God.
Jesus tells the parable of the growing seed to demonstrate the power of the kingdom of God. By its nature, it is a process that begins slowly but then comes to full fruition. The design of the kingdom of God is not as human wisdom would assume. When a man plants a seed in the ground, he goes to sleep, and during the night, the seed sprouts. An orderly pattern of growth begins when the seed turns into a blade, then a head, and finally the full grain in the head. There is nothing the man can do about the growth. He can water, fertilize, and weed, but ultimately, the seed grows on its own. Such is the kingdom of God. There is an eternal seed of growth in the kingdom of God that is not accomplished by the will of men. A spiritual kingdom comes from the spiritual power of God.
Paul writes about the work of the church as accomplished by different kinds of men. He and Apollos worked in the kingdom, but each had a different part. One would plant and the other water. Ultimately, the kingdom grows because God gives the increase. Like the man who plants a field of wheat, he buys the seed and plants it in the ground. Others may water the seed, and it grows to harvest. While the men accomplish much in helping the field be ready for harvest, the power of growth comes from the hand of its Creator. No man can take credit for the harvest of souls as God gives the increase. The farmer cannot claim to have grown anything by his own power. He plants the seed and works the soil, but the power of the harvest is contained in the seed by God.
People are like the parable of the growing seed. An amazing thing happens when the kingdom of God reaches good soil. Like the parable of the sower, the good ground will yield a crop that sprang up and increased and produced. Good hearts readily accept the will of God as truth and grow thereby. Three thousand devout Jews had good hearts on Pentecost and obeyed the word of God. The city of Samaria found joy in the message of the gospel, and many souls were added to the church when they obeyed the gospel. Philip preached to a man from Ethiopia, and it was the man from a foreign land that asked Philip if he could be baptized. Saul of Tarsus changed his heart and served Jesus Christ to his death. Myriad of stories are told of those who served the wiles of the devil until that day the gospel changed their hearts. How does that happen? Paul said the feet of those who preach the gospel are beautiful, but no man ever converted another – the gospel changed the heart. The gospel is the power to salvation as the creative power of the seed is given by God. Growth comes individually when men see the need to change their lives. It is a marvelous and wonderful experience to behold. Seeds become wheat. Lost souls become saints of the Lord God.