One thing contrary to the kingdom of God – control.

Jesus offered a parable on the kingdom of God. The kingdom, he said, is like a man who sows seeds, goes to sleep, and then marvels at how everything grows on its own. (Mk 4:26-34) After the parable, he took the disciples aside and “explained everything in private.” 

I imagined being one of the disciples. Jesus pulls me aside and explains the parable in light of my life. He says flatly, “You are not in control.”  

As I’ve written before, the Lord has told me in many and various ways that it’s time to leave as the director of the Catholic Conference Center. What the Lord has not shared with me is what he wants me to do after. The future is uncertain, and that makes me a little uncomfortable. Like many, I like to control my life and keep everything ordered and predictable (and sometimes a little overcommitted). 

As I pondered this little ‘cloud of unknowing’, I heard the Lord responding with these same words: “This is how it is with the Kingdom.” (Mk 4:26) This new adventure into unexplored parts of the Kingdom can only be experienced by surrendering my need to control.

The Lord, however, is not leaving me to wander around aimlessly. I also heard him reinterpret the parable considering my life’s situation in a way that’s given me a new purpose. I am to sow seeds. Like the man in the parable, I am to sow these generously and with reckless abandon. Instead of a “To do” list addressing the workday’s demands, I can create a “Sower’s List” identifying ways to scatter seeds of love, joy, encouragement, peace, generosity, kindness, and more.  

As in the parable, I don’t need to ration these seeds, control the planting depth, assure they are spaced appropriately, or even worry about their germination. I am to be the sower, God is the grower, and to trust that God can transform even the tiniest of my seeds into a majestic mustard tree.

When facing the uncertainties of life, surrendering the desire to control and sowing seeds might be all the Lord wants us to do.  

This leads to two questions. What do you need to surrender to experience the kingdom unfolding in your life? What seeds might you be able to sow today?