Be a good seed, nurtured and grown.
Ezek 17:22-24 2 Cor 5:6-10 Mk 4:26-34
The Rev. Leonard Oakes
HCSM, June 17, 2012
Great morning to all!! I see good number of Fathers and Grandfathers today!
May I request all the father figures to please rise for recognition. Thank you for the love and care that you share to your family and this community. A round of applause to all fathers please.
Time and time again, I always hail and salute Father’s who have sacrificed for their family; fathers who are always there when needed, a shoulder to lean on, an ear to listen. When things get rough, when one losses a house or when one learned she has a cancer, a father figure is there to support.
Happy Father’s day to all fathers, grandfathers, uncles!! Thank you for the sacrifices you’ve made for your family and the community. To those who are still trying hard as a father figure, keep going, God is there to guide you through.
There are also some of us who are father figure to others, like Lyle Richardson, who established an orphanage in Russia to nurture and care for homeless children. Thank you for your love.
We also owe it to all fathers and grandfathers who have gone before us. Thanks for their love and memories.
Yesterday, I was looking back at the years that passed. I remember my dad when I was in High School. He taught me how to till the land, spread the rice grains and nurture them until it is time to replant them for space and growth. Through him, I learned to watch how seeds grow. The growth is silent and slow but steady, using power from the seed in the beginning and transforming absorbed water and minerals in the later stages. I later understood that growth doesn’t take place because of our understandings or manipulations. It is God’s initiative that brings forth growth. We need to be patient and not give up, because sometimes growth takes longer than we expect. God works in ways we don’t understand. That’s what my father taught me.
Many times, we as humans want results and want them fast. We live in the age of the instant product. We don’t cook the old ways anymore, we use Microwave. We don’t walk anymore to talk to our neighbor, we use Facebook, text. “Hello text ba eto? We don’t play the patintero or go to the park anymore, we play computer games, watch TV while eating pop corn…pretty well instant anything. We know that the quality suffers, but we are willing to sacrifice that for quick results and time and effort saved.
We live a Life in the fast last lane. Out of busyness, we forget that certain things cannot be rushed. We became used to a push button lifestyle. We forget that to grow to maturity as a human being is the job of a lifetime. To build a good relationship with someone, takes time. Acquiring skills and knowledge takes life time. It takes time to learn the art of making a stained glass window. Ask Jeff . To work a conflict resolution takes time. To build up a good and loving and compassionate church community takes time. We don’t have push buttons for these. In other words, for some things there are no shortcuts. Some people think they must always be up and doing – as if everything depended on them. They are unable to take time out, to let things be, to trust, to be patient, to be humble, to wait.
There are things we must do where God allows us to grow. All that God wants us to do is that we sow seeds of love, faith, of justice, of compassion and live in order to make this world a better place to live. Having done this we must be patient to wait. Just like that lovely little parable of the seed in the Gospel, growing of itself shows us that there is an almighty power working for us. Our job is to sow the seed. Then God has to take over. And God does. My dad told that as a farmer, if we do the right thing, the harvest will come. But can we be patient, can we wait, can we trust? Do we have the courage to grow?
I would like share to you this story about a full grown seed who became a tree.
Once there was a young happy tree in the island of Fiji. It was the only tree in that island. This lovely tree had long branches with leaves too many to count. It enjoyed looking at the green plains below and the blue sea surrounding the island.
One day, the tree noticed that one of its leaves was turning brown. It started to be alarmed. What was going on? This was the first time it happened. It never experienced it before. The tree started to panic when soon more leaves became brown. And then the impossible happened: One brown leaf snapped off its twig and fell to the ground.
The tree began to sweat and trembling. Soon, more leaves fell. He counted them one by one. Gasp! He couldn’t believe it. In one day, 5 leaves fell off from his branches. The next day, another 10 fell. The day after that, 20 more fell. On and on they kept falling.
He was losing so many leaves each day, he blurted out, “I am dying!” Everyday, with great anxiety, he stared on the growing mound of brown leaves gathering around His roots. He began to lose hope and wanted to end his life.
( I wonder if those who are losing the hair like me, feel the same? Everytime they get to the shower, a mound of hair is clogging the shower drainage and when they look at the mirror, a familiar scream, “Oh no” can not be controlled.)
Then suddenly, out of nowhere, a bird flew by…
The feathered creature balanced onto one of the tree’s branches. The bird asked, “What’s wrong? Why are you so sad?”
The tree said, “I’m dying.”
“Why do you say that?” the bird asked.
“I’m losing all my leaves! I’ve lost more than a hundred already…”
The bird was taken aback. “You don’t know do you?” He looked around and realized why. “You haven’t seen another tree in your life. You’re all alone here. My dear friend, what you’re experiencing is something that every other tree in the world experiences.”
The bird smiled and said, “I want to give you three messages today.”
“I’m listening,” the tree answered.
“First, you say you’ve already lost more than a hundred leaves. You count the number of leaves that you’ve lost. Count now the number of leaves that are still on your branches…”
The tree went about counting. “1, 2, 3, 4….” When he reached 500, he said, “I can’t count them. I have too many leaves!” The tree wasn’t crying anymore.
“Then you’re learning a very important truth”, said the bird. “Remember that you’ll always have more blessings than problems. Problems seem more because you count them, you measure them, and you analyze them everyday. But when you count your blessings, you’ll realize that your blessings will outnumber your problems, always!”
The bird continued, “Here’s my second message. I want you to look at your branches. Specifically look at the empty space where your leaves fell from. Do you see them?”
“Are they really empty.”
“Yes, they’re empty. A leaf was there before…”
“Look closer,” said the bird, “because it’s not really empty…”
That was when the tree said, “Well, I see tiny leaves sprouting in the same place where my old leaves fell from.”
The bird nodded, “If your old leaves didn’t fall, there wouldn’t have been space for new leaves to sprout in your branches. If you want better things to happen in your life, some older things will have to go first.”
“I now understand,” the tree smiled.
The bird chirped, “And now for my last message. Do you notice what happens to your brown leaves?” the bird asked.
“They rot,” the tree shrugged, looking at the mound of brown leaves around its roots.
“Yes they do, but for a purpose,” said the bird, “because in due time, these rotting leaves will become part of the soil. These leaves will enrich you. Your roots will drink their nourishment. Causing you to grow and sprout more leaves…”
After reading this story, I realized something very important. I realized that I grew the most not during the times when everything was smooth, or the times when everything was going my way. I realized that I grew the most during the times when there was intense trouble, intense pain. I grew the most when I was attacked from all directions and I couldn’t breathe anymore. That’s when God stretched me.
To all of us especially the fathers; be grateful for the blessings behind your trials. Let us all continue to grow however small we may be, because we are great in the eyes of God.
Blessings be to all. Amen.