“And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.” (Genesis 1:9)
Gathered together into one place…
God did that when he made us. Though we are indeed more water than anything, there’ll come a time (if there hasn’t already) where you begin to coalesce into a fuller version of yourself. Into something resembling a person. It’s different for everyone. It’s so cool to see a little person who you can tell at a young age is already comfortable in their own skin. Who knows how God will use them? They seem to be on the right track out of the gate and that’s awesome. Others take their good sweet time. Waiting on God knows what to become something that only God knows. As He made them, it’s Him to whom they’re living and to whom they’ll answer. Praise God. I find that the longer one takes to coalesce, the more potential opposition will they face. If you’re going through that, here’s a secret: Be grateful that God formed you–that He made you. Did you know you can never unravel that realization? It’s something you can reverse engineer back to the source. It’ll never grow stale.
“Thou waterest the ridges thereof abundantly: Thou settlest the furrows thereof: Thou makest it soft with showers: Thou blessest the springing thereof.” (Psalm 65:10)
Jesus uses the earth, i.e. farmland in many of his parables. Sitting on the seaside, no less, He begins (in Matthew, chapter 13:3-23) with the parable of the sower. He cognates (yes) the believer with “good ground”. Several other character types does He implicate in this first parable. He that received the “seed by the way side” out of whose heart the devil “catcheth away” the word. Don’t let it go. One receives it into “stony places”. This person doesn’t allow the Word of God (the seed, in this case) to take root in their heart and mind. There’s the hearer who is overgrown with weeds, or “thorns”. Too many distractions prevent God’s word from sprouting. Then you have the good ground and the high yield that’s bound to happen out of the heart of the believer who, themselves, are “rooted and grounded in love” (Ephesians 3:17) and also “rooted and built up in Him” (Colossians 2:7). Thing is, there are several levels of metaphor at work here in the Bible. And the deeper one presses in to God, it almost as if they transcend one symbol after another until they become as like Jesus as humanly possible. But first, the earth.
“The plowers plowed upon my back: they made long their furrows.” (Psalm 129:3)
Suffering. Pain. Hardship. “The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.” (Genesis 4:10) says God to Cain. Jesus continues in Matthew 13 with three more parables that, how can I say this, increase in symbolic density. “The kingdom of heaven”, He says, “is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field.” (verse 24) This is a bit more serious because we’re now dealing with more than one type of person in the field. He says “while men slept, His enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat”. Okay, there are people (like weeds) who don’t belong in church. Love them and pray them wherever God wants them to be. The third parable has to do with mustard seed. To where the entirety of the kingdom is present in “the least of all seeds” (verse 32). He then sews it up with the fourth. Exactly one verse in which “leaven” or yeast, is distributed evenly among “three measures of meal” (verse 33). One verse for which we get no more elucidation.
“In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” (Genesis 3:19)
It’s interesting how in 1 Kings, when Elijah calls Elisha to come and follow him–in much the same way Christ called His disciples–Elisha asks that he be allowed to say goodbye to his family. Elijah allows it and afterwards, Elisha catches up with him and, it says, “ministered unto him.” (1 Kings 19:19-21) Contrast this with the two people in Luke’s gospel who, after being called by Jesus, want to sever ties with their families. One says “suffer me first to go and bury my father.” To which Jesus replies “let the dead bury their dead” (9:59-60) The second says he wants to come but, like Elisha, wants to say goodbye. Jesus responds to him: “No man having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” (9:61-62) It would seem things have changed between the testaments. Jesus ushered in the things of the interior and while Elisha worked out what he did with his family, the strictness of the call of God takes precedence over everything and everyone. And every call centers around “ministering to God.” In whatever way you’re formed.
The metaphor of growing and planting is just about the best way to describe the life of faith before the Lord. When you take time and come into sync with God and His plan for your (eventual) growth and harvest, you no doubt will reap the rewards.
“While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.” (Genesis 8:22)