How on earth do people go from ‘won’t’ to ‘want’? I dunno, but we shouldn’t need to know Mark 4:26-29 by Revd Alex Pease

It’s called: germination: the process by which seeds grow into standing shoots of corn.

Science has given us a good understanding of how the process of germination and growth happens but, of course, from the point of view of a farmer in the first century, it was a total mystery. He would sow the seed in the ground and without doing anything more it would grow for harvest.  Amazing!

Particularly for a farmer  in the first century.  Because we know what happens, it can be rather less amazing for us….

But it’s an analogy Jesus is seeking to use.  An everyday event to explain something spiritual.  To help us to understand it.  To help us to understand what our role is in it all.

You see the everyday miracle of Christianity is how the seed of truth grows in the soil of our hearts into the harvest of faith.

Most people in the UK have a fairly cynical attitude towards the claims of Jesus Christ.  This comes in two ways: either it is complete rejection – atheism or it is belief in Christianity  as a ‘good thing’; That the Christian life is a good way to live but which doubts that there is actually a God who wants to intervene in our lives and actually change our situation – A sort of agnosticism.

Atheism or Agnosticism either of which may be open to persuasion if only someone would produce some evidence….

‘Come on Alex’ You may be thinking to yourself ‘Just say something which proves it for me which gets over the considerable obstacles that I have to believing in a God who acts. The obstacle of the pain that I have suffered. The intellectual obstacles that I face….

Come on say something which gets me past that barrier…’

So many people are waiting to have God proved to them before they will take any action; before they will move from won’t to want…

And for those of us who are believers in a God who acts in our lives; We sometimes wonder how does it happen that people who have been atheists and agnostics come to believe in a God who acts?

It happens everyday, by the way.

We may ask and pray how can we bring our friends and relations to have the same experience of that God that we have, which means everything to us?

What’s the process?

But Jesus is saying ‘look at how corn grows.  The Kingdom of Heaven is like that!’

It’s a mystery how the Holy Spirit changes the heart of the unbeliever from Won’t to Want but the change to heart still does happen….even though the experience of pain is still there; even though the intellectual obstacles are never entirely overcome.  But the first is now bearable and the second doesn’t seem to be important any more.

But how does it happen? It’s a mystery

But we don’t have to know how it happens before we do our bit:

The sowing and the reaping:

The living of a life which honours Jesus Christ in everything that we do and say.  The giving of answers to questions when they come, as they will.  That’s the sowing

And the gentle leading into the Kingdom, the mentoring and discipling of those in whom the Holy Spirit has done His work. That’s the reaping

And despite our lack of understanding when we do these things when we do our bit, we make a contribution which is colossal in its significance.  Because it is a contribution to the building of  the Kingdom of God which will last for all eternity….


Mark 4:26–29(NRSV)

The Parable of the Growing Seed

26 He also said, “The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, 27 and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. 28 The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. 29 But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come.”

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