home -> spirituality -> donkey appleseed

Donkey Appleseed

The true story of a jackass that forgot. He forgot that his job was to plant seeds. First some background. All scripture references below are from the New King James Version, the book of Matthew, Chapter 13, starting with verse 9.

Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: "Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!"

10 And the disciples came and said to Him, "Why do You speak to them in parables?"

11 – 15 He answered and said to them, "Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says: 'Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, And seeing you will see and not perceive; For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, And their eyes they have closed, Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.'

16 – 17 "But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear; for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.

18 – 23 "Therefore hear the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside. But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty."

Note that the sower sows. No stopping to fight off birds, no stopping to pull up thorns, no stopping to pick up seeds off of rocks or the path, no stopping to plow, no stopping to water. Just sowing. The sower continues with apparently no concern for results, just a concern for action. Sowing. Let's look at each of the soil types, the problem condition, solutions we are tempted with, and some non-biblical math. For the sake of this discussion, let's say that we planted 100 seeds, about 25 or so in each type of soil. (Only 24 in the good stuff.)

Problem Condition: No chance to grow
Tempting Solutions: Till soil, fight birds/demons, protect the seedling
Assume percentage of all soil falls in this category: 25% (non-biblical math)
Number of successful plants: 0

Problem Condition: Choked by surroundings
Tempting Solutions: Isolate from other influences, rip up thorns, protect the seedling
Assume percentage of all soil falls in this category: 25% (non-biblical math)
Number of successful plants: 0

SOIL TYPE: Rocky Soil
Problem Condition: Limited chance to grow, shallow, over-reactive
Tempting Solutions: Break up rocks, nurture the seedling, let it grow roots
Assume percentage of all soil falls in this category: 25% (non-biblical math)
Number of successful plants: 0

SOIL TYPE: Ready, Fertile Soil
Problem Condition: None stated
Tempting Solutions: Cast them in our image, nurture the seedling so it will grow like us
Assume percentage of all soil falls in this category: 24% (8 multiplied 100 fold for 800 plants, 8 multiplied 60 fold for 480 plants, and 8 multiplied 30 fold for another 240 plants.)
Number of successful plants: 800 plus 480 plus 240 equals 1520.

So, what does God want us to do? He wants us to sow, without a concern for results. In our results-oriented society, an example of the church being influenced by the world is a results-oriented church program. We are not here to achieve success in our own eyes. We are not here to change or control others, we are here to plant the seeds of change. We are not to monitor the seeds, to see how great we are. All of those things I just listed are ... self-centered. Note also that every tempting solution I listed above is also self-centered. The seeds will survive and thrive where there is a readiness to accept them, and nowhere else.

So how does a sower sow? Is it by what the sower says? Yes, but also by deeds and attitudes. Do we approach the suffering with the belief that they are suffering because of their sins? ("Lord, is this man blind because of his sins or his parents’ sins?) Do we approach them with the belief that they will suffer because of their sins? Or do we approach them thinking of what Jesus sees in them? ("Do you want to be made well?") To condemn the ‘un-righteous’ to eternal damnation is to accuse them of getting what we deserve. We forget that they will all come to the point of believing Christ. ("Every knee shall bow and every tongue proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord".)

Oh, you ask how one seed can grow 100 plants? Good question. Instead of answering it directly, let me answer it indirectly with a quote I heard long ago: "Anyone can count the seeds in an apple, only God can count the apples in a seed."

My personal goal is to bring Jesus to them, and let Him and them take it from there. Sort of like on Palm Sunday, when Jesus rode that donkey into town, and many celebrated. In their case, there was a lot of rocky soil around, and I wonder if the donkey took some of the praise personally. I know that whenever I bring Jesus into a place, and beautiful and wonderful things happen, and people thank me for what has happened, I tend to forget that it wasn’t the donkey who did much that day, it was the One on the donkey’s back. The more I forget this, the more of a donkey I am. Fortunately for me behaving like a jack ass is a good reminder of what I am without Jesus, and it brings me back. Now if I could only do something about the smell ...