Howard Thurman, in his book, Disciplines of the Spirit writes, “There are many forces over which the individual can exercise no control whatsoever. A farmer plants a seed in the ground and the seed sprouts and grows. The weather, the wind, the elements the farmer cannot control. The result is never a sure thing. So what does the farmer do? The farmer plants, always the farmer works at it . . . in confidence and assurance that even though this seed many not grow to fruition, seeds do grow and they do come to fruition.”
These past months have brought turmoil in many sectors. Our political divisions continue to separate us. We demonize those whose viewpoints are different than ours. Last weeks confrontation in Charlottesville, Virginia symbolized for me how fractured we have become. White nationalists, proud of their evil symbols of hate and bigotry marching with torches, brought shades of another era and time. It was as much symbol of our political discord as it was of the attitudes which formed it. And then the tragedy when a young man drove his car into a group of pedestrian aiming to injure and kill. This has been a time of questioning who we are and what we are becoming as a nation.
At moments like this we ask ourselves what we can do to challenge the forces of evil in our world and in our nation. We wonder why we should keep trying, when nothing seems to be working. We grow discouraged. Challenging moments are those in which we most need to remember that seeds do grow. Our task in God’s kingdom is to sow the seed. Seeds grow. We know they do. We have seen that growth in our own lives. We know too, that without planting at appropriate times there would never be a harvest of good fruit.
Like the farmer, we are never certain which seed will grow. Planting seeds of faith, nurture, love, acceptance, compassion, tolerance, mercy, integrity, hope, joy, peace, commitment and service continues to be our task. Sowing good seed, loving God’s people, risking, caring and forgiving are ways we live out our faith day by day. No, our efforts are never a sure thing. But, God asks only that we try, that we do our best, and leave all which remains to God.
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21