Reflecting on how God's Word works and becomes effective in our lives, there are two contrasting images. One picture is gold coins dropped into a chest: we carefully collect treasures of knowledge and insight from the Scriptures, and enter them into the storehouses of our minds. There is beauty in the dazzling glitter of this treasure. We feel enriched by the wisdom we amass: we can take the gold out and choose how to spend it, perhaps sharing it with others.
But there is a very different model: seeds sown broadly across the ground where, if they land in fertile soil and favorable conditions, they may flourish and bear fruit.
In both cases, the value is in God's word itself, not in our receiving it. But in the model of the soils, there is life, expressed in growth and multiplication. There is mystery: the seeds grows, unattended, perhaps even initially unnoticed. There is nurture: unless thwarted, the seed will grow and produce nourishment for others. No one seed may be an exceptional thing: but taken together, and multiplied, they produce a rich harvest. In this model, the value of the seed is intertwined with the environment it lands in: hard soil is enough to prevent the seed from bearing fruit. But sterility is contrary to the nature of the seed: it is not meant to sit in a chest, and the growth it produces is beyond us.
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