Transplant Me

 “Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” And he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Mark 4:3-9 (ESV)

The story about the four soils is obviously about the sower. “The sower went out to sow.” The sower is responsible to share the message of the gospel, but he is not responsible for the reception of that message.

It reminds me of God’s calling on Ezekiel. God told Ezekiel that he wanted him to be a watchman. We live in pretty safe places in a relatively peaceful time, so the idea of the watchman might seem foreign to us. Our towns don’t have watchmen standing watch and warning us of danger. In those times, the watchman would stand in a watchtower and carefully observe the area around for danger. A watchman would be vigilant to danger and sound the alarm at the first signs of it. This would allow the people working in the vulnerable places to get to safety. If the people ignored the watchman’s warning, the watchman was not at fault for whatever might happen. He did his job and sounded the alarm. If the watchman missed the danger and did not sound the warning, then the watchman would be guilty for the harm done to the people as if he had done it himself (Ezekiel 3:16-27, 33:1-9).

We, those who are followers of Jesus, are called to be God’s watchmen, sowing seed wherever we go. Some of those seeds will multiply; others will never grow. Some will give us hope as we see growth and then quickly die. Oh what terrible heartbreak we feel in those cases. At other times people will let the bad influences around them destroy them. I can think of friends who went this route and am reminded of the sorrow.

It is useful to stop obsessing over everyone else and indulge in a little introspection. What soil am I in? Am I in that fertile soil, being used by God to multiple faithful followers for the kingdom? Or am I overshadowed by thorns, living in the darkness of others trying to block out what God wants to do in my life? Discouraging words stop me from radically following. Direct attacks on the things God is trying to do in my life make me question Him and His plan. Or am I quickly growing only to wither at the struggles of the world? The tragedies of life rocks my faith. Legalism causes my faith to crumble like an improperly constructed wall.

Wherever I find myself, God is in the transplanting business.

Gardeners and arborists are really good at transplanting plants and trees. They gently remove the plant from the bad soil. They apply the appropriate amount of fertilizer. They appropriately water the plant and make sure that it gets just the right amount of fertilizer. They give the care needed to insure the survival of the transplant. If we can be successful in transplanting plants, how much more successfully will God be in transplant lives. He wants us in the good soil. And He will move us there if that is what we want.

To our detriment, we often like being in the bad soil. We find the momentary pleasure of too much sunlight exhilarating, ignoring that it will scorch us in the end. We find the company of thorns enjoyable, oblivious that their darkness squelches our growth. We don’t want to leave the path because everyone is there. We come up with all sorts of justifications to stay out of the soil God wants us in.

But God doesn’t give up on us. He is in the multiplication business. He wants to use us to further His work here on earth, just like He used someone else to touch each one of us for His kingdom.

Transplant me. Water me. Use me. I’ll be a sower. I’ll be a watchman. I want to join in the cry of those before me who longed to be in the good soil, multiplying and bringing God’s will into this world.