It’s been an incredible Spring here in Northern Virginia. The mild winter brought on early and rapid blooming of everything, it seems, all at once. Almost like they are in competition, the April dogwoods, May azaleas and June iris are here all together like the finale of a 4th of July Fireworks display. To top it off, an overly warm March and early April was followed by an overly cool late April and May. These temperatures have functioned like a giant refrigerator, allowing trees and blossoms a greatly extended bloom period
The power and the glory of it all are impossible to fathom. I marvel to think that it all started with tiny seeds and carries itself on from year to year under Heavenly Father’s divine plan! Furthermore, I am astounded by the sheer number of seeds in every plant and fruit. Watermelons, cantaloupes, marigolds- within each fruit and bloom are always far more seeds than we could ever use or need.
Even within each human being are countless numbers of seeds. Why so many? What could possibly be the purpose?
Perhaps the answers to abundant growth, both plant and human, are within the Parable of the Sower. I hope you’ll go back and read Matthew 13:1-23 completely. As we watch the world come to life again through flowers, trees, shrubs, and gardens, we can be inspired to make the Parable of the Sower a part of our own health and well-being.
On the same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the sea. 2 And great multitudes were gathered to Him, so that He got into a boat and sat down; and the whole multitude stood on the shore.
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; 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.”
First of all, it tells us that at that time He lived in a house by the beach. Somehow this seems just right! As the Master of heaven and earth, I’m sure he had a master story-teller’s voice that was rich, resonant and animated. It’s easy to Imagine being there with the sun beating down, a gentle breeze blowing, the call of the birds, the lapping of the sea at the beach and the rapt attention of His listeners as he teaches the mysteries of both failure and success.
I’m sure they listened carefully to the simple story of the sower with a bag of seeds. As he scattered them, some went into shallow soil, others into stony grounds or thickets of thorn, and only some into the rich, moist ground.
Later in the chapter He openly makes it clear that the rich ground for the good of our spirits is daily choosing to walk with Christ and feast upon his goodness and love, and that the destroyer is ever present. The rich soil for the good of our body is choosing to literally walk and be active through exercise and of course, eat right. Needless to say, the destroyer in the form of unhealthy foods is also every present!
Even as the sower had a bag full of seeds, each with the potential of full growth, they were lost when carelessly sown. Our health is no different.
The many, many choices we make daily of what goes into our mouths are in very deed the sower’s bag of seeds. We can cast them into the way side of mindless eating or grazing where we haven’t really tasted or enjoyed what we’ve chosen, but eaten simply because it was there.
The wayside of not adequately protecting ourselves from situations and food-pushers who, like the birds who devour the seeds, is especially difficult to avoid and one we’ll talk about next week.
Some of our seeds are cast out of habit and convenience into the stony places of fast food and processed foods made of overly refined white flour, sugar and bad fats. Other seeds are scattered among the thorns of over-sized portions, eating when socializing when where we’re not hungry, finishing children’s meals, private binging, and in other wrongful ways.
However, with a quick prayer for self-respect and health, we can just as easily scatter them in the rich, brown furrows of foods as close to nature as possible, (i.e. foods that come from the soil themselves with as little processing as possible), and foods that are accounted for and eaten at appropriate times and places.
In addition to this easy analogy, the many food and health choices we make every day are literally the seeds that our bodies grow from. It’s a logical conclusion to accept the obvious truth that healthy foods will grow into a healthy body.
Though establishing a healthy lifestyle is an ongoing process of changing habits and choices, the good news is our bodies will generously and immediately forgive the past since they are quickly and continually re-creating themselves. Scientists have examined the growth of human cells and found that:
- We grow a new stomach lining every four days;
- The surface stomach cells that come into contact with digesting food renew themselves every five minutes;
- Our skin is completely new every five weeks;
- Our livers are completely regenerated every six weeks; We rebuild our entire skeletal structure every three months;
- The entire body completely recreates itself, down to the last atom, every four or five years.
This is amazing! These facts alone can easily give us a greater desire to provide the vitamins and minerals necessary to help our bodies adequately regenerate themselves day after day, year in and year out.
Now, with no guilt or regret for the times our eating has literally fallen by the wayside – onto stony places or into the thorns – today is a new day. The over-abundance of seeds in a cantaloupe or watermelon indicates our Heavenly Father’s promise of both abundance and repentance that there will always be all that we need.
Our bodies are recreating themselves at this very moment as we sit at our computers and read these words and it is our choice to sow our seeds into the rich soil of smart eating and healthful activity today. Is there any harvest more valuable than that which comes through the good health and peace of a healthy weight?
Here’s a fun song, a recipe and some personal pondering questions to help us carry on!
Song: I Am Choosing (To the tune of “We Are Sowing”)
I am choosing, daily choosing, foods that build, protect and bless
Foods that nourish mind and body as bad habits now are laid to rest
Foods from nature, lots of water, lean protein and exercise
Satisfy my needs and hunger as each day I grow and thrive.
Ponder: Matthew 13:1-9 and 13:18-23.
- Do a quick brainstorm of your own waysides, stony grounds and thorns, i.e. foods and situations that diminish your success.
- Which ones can be eliminated? How will you do so?
- Which ones do you need to focus on learning to accept and work around? (Next week’s topic!)
- Project what you are eating now into the physical strength/health/body it will create in the next several days or weeks. Is it pleasing to you? Would it be pleasing to Heavenly Father?
Recipe: Broccoli Cheddar Muffins
Lovely for a supper or brunch, here’s a good way to use leftover steamed broccoli:
Broccoli Cheddar Muffins
(12 Muffins at 140 Calories)
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg white
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup reduced fat cheddar cheese
1 cup chopped steamed broccoli
- Preheat oven to 375. Spray 12 cup muffin tin with Pam.
- Sift flour, baking powder, soda, sugar, and salt together.
- In another bowl, whisk together egg white, buttermilk and oil.
- Gently fold together wet and dry mixtures. Gently stir in broccoli and cheddar.
- Pour into muffin tins and bake for 25 minutes, until golden and firm.
(1 g Dietary Fiber; 140 Calories; 6 g Fat; 17 g Carbs)