The many parables about the discovery and growth of “Kingdom of God” suggests that both elements; finding and nurturing are both needed. They are, on the surface, contradictory terms… as are the many metaphors about finding pearls, and planting seeds. Discovery is an all-at- once event ; growing takes time and tilling.
As in the case of the pearl, it is perceived by us as fully formed; not as commonly thought to be the result of an irritating grain of sand, but a process of the oyster lending it’s shell to the pearl . One out of 10,000 does produce a pearl unless the seed of it is implanted in an adult and is a cultured product. Does that mean that God does not have a hand in the production of this rare and beautiful gem? Of course not.
The kingdom of God grows gradually. As in the persistent scriptural reminders; “It is like a mustard seed grows to become the largest of shrubs. It is like a yeast, which a woman took and mixed with dough, until it was all leavened. Like a treasure buried in a field, which a man found and buried again, then sells everything he has and buys that field. Every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom is like a householder who can bring forth from his treasure room both the new and the old.”
Thus the seed of God is in us; it will thrive and grow up into God. Pear seeds grow into pear trees, nut seeds will grow into nut trees, and God seeds grow into God. In one sense the farmer can’t do anything; he can’t cause the sun to shine or the rain to fall. In another sense everything is up to him, if he doesn’t prepare the soil and plant the crops there will be none. In similar sense, Everything is grace; but unless we prepare for grace, we will never know it will come to fruition. Jesus is telling us in the case of the treasure parable; we can find treasure only on our own land.
Every seed: those that have been sewn within us, and those planted in our children and others are part of the infinite thoughtfulness and wisdom of God. This is a God who can and has produced billions of finished products. We recognize and partake of them. His choice is to make us farmers, fishers, and creators ourselves ; foremost that we see always to the seeds needs .
We prepare and till for the growth of the Kingdom that lies within every one of us and for God’s table alone that awaits the fruits of our labours. May they all be mature and sweet.