Remember I told you I was born in ushago? Ok.
One of my earliest and fondest yet creepy (yes) memories is sitting on a dried cow’s hide outside my grandmother’s house with my cousins – swallowing “tembe” or tablets. Only that our tembes were bean seeds. (A personal favourite of mine were the small red one…oh… and the slightly bigger one with white spots.)
Why? Because we admired how our grandfather would throw a capsule into his mouth and swallow it with a big gulp of water. We actually thought it was cool!! So we copied… much to the distress of my mother and grand mother.They tried to dissuade us but… we were not interested. In fact, me, Grace, I had even better ideas.
I decided the beans needed an escort.
So, I ate soil. Yes. (By the way, I stopped eating soil a year to my wedding. Yep! I was an addict- I abused soil for over 25 years. Kwanza the red one, baked in the hot Nairobi sun…. goodness. Now add the “smell” of rain and I would be panting for a fix). Anyway…. My Mom devised many a plan to cure me of my addiction to beans and soil. One was to scare me: she told me that one day, all those bean seeds would germinate and grow out through my ears. Si I waited…. in horror ….. but, nothing! The only things that “grew” were worms… let me tell you!! De-worming me was a horrible process, I will not describe it. Those things…… weh!!! But you know what, I still did not kick my “habit”. Like any self respecting addict, I simply found another way to maintain it. I swallowed beans while Mom was away teaching the local school then ate soil in bed … I mean, \o/ what else was i to do. Funny thing is how it made me go looking for answers…..
In my many adventures around my grandfather’s farm, I got interested by the process of germination- I mean, I noticed how we would “bury” two bean seeds and they would magically grow into plants producing several pods. I wondered how it multiplied itself into so many “beans”? (Maharagwe mingi \o/ ). My greatest question was why the seeds survived in the ground but not in the soil in my stomach. I mean, I diligently swallowed the seeds and soil and watered them generously, but… nothing!! Of course school ilinitoa ujinga!! Thank God for school.
In the famous parable of the sower (Matthew 13), Jesus taught how a sower went out one fine morning to sow seed. I always imagine him waking up at dawn, splashing water on his face and watching the sun rise as he waited for his wife to serve him breakfast. Seeing the red sky, I imagine he would conclude, as Jesus later explained, that the day will certainly be a good day. That’s found here Matt 16:2. After a sumptuous meal, he would have picked up his bag and head off to the freshly dug up farm to sow. In the account in Matthew, Jesus goes on to explain that as the sower sowed seed (by the way, in those days, the farmers would scatter seed randomly), the seeds fell in four different locations/ conditions/ environments (choose one!!): the path way, the rocky place, the thorny patch and the fertile ground. He (as in, Jesus, not the sower…… Focus!! ) then teaches us (and akina Matthew hapo kando) that the location/condition/environment influenced the life and success of the seed – some were stolen by birds, others did not take root, others took root but were chocked yet others…. thrived!!
I’m sure by now you know where this is headed, yes?? Ok.
The seed that fell on the first three environments were no different than the ones that fell on the fertile ground. Agreed? Yes. Each possessed the same creative power – to die, germinate and bring forth a harvest. Yes? So, what was the problem?
Yes Class, I asked what was the problem?? Who said the environment? You’re absolutely correct! Please give that student a clap, good job!!
You see, the word of God is the seed. The farm represents our hearts that many times exhibits all four environments. Here’s why: Some of us hear the word spoken every other day in fact, majority of us have Bible Apps on our many gadgets, yes? Complete with an alert to remind us to read the Word (by the way, who reminds you to take your coffee? Yet you need a reminder for the word? But what do I know??) Yet with all that hearing/reading, some areas in our lives remain the same. Yaani, the SAME!! Year in, year out (Miaka nenda, miaka rudi- Kiswahili, kipenzi changu!) Why?
Because of the condition of our hearts, just like the many bean seeds I swallowed never made me a millionaire exporter of fresh produce to the West due to the corrosive environment in my stomach!! I have realized with time that the only Word that bears fruit is the one that falls in the right (fertile) places in our hearts, the areas that are ready to receive and let it germinate and bear fruit – areas prepared by trials and watered by our tears, or those that have been prepared through a season of surrender to the Master’s hand for thorough plowing. By the way, that fertile place changes with seasons – Yes! How else would you explain it?? Further, I am convinces that as soon as the Word lands in the fertile place, it takes root, it germinates, it bears fruit.
So now?? I’m glad you asked.
I have been challenged to really look — I mean, really examine the harvest that I am now experiencing because I am convinced that it will reveal to me which “section” of my heart is the most fertile in this season. And I can tell you – the results have shocked me. It has broken me, it has driven me to my knees. I have resolved to pay closer attention to my fertile place at any given time. Because now more than ever, I need a harvest.
I haven’t swallowed seeds in a looong time. And I haven’t eaten soil for over a decade. My palate now desires different things- finer things… #wink. The seed of the Word. And I see progress – first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head (Mark 4:28). Try it; you’ll see results.