Pause for Thought – a five minute read – 3

Mark 4 v 26 – 34 / Mark 4 v 1 – 9

I apologise if these pause for thoughts appear to be turning out to be a diary of my social separation experiences, it’s not what was intended, but it does give you an insight of how the hand of God is everywhere at any time without us realising it.

After my experience with the photos in the ottoman, I thought that I would tackle a job that was more manageable and controllable. The sun was shining on this particular day so my thoughts inevitably strayed to polishing my Morris Minor Traveller. It’s in the garage at least twenty metres away from any other habitation so was well within separation requirements.

I keep all my car cleaning chemicals in the cupboard under the stairs; – now there’s a blast from the past – the cupboard under the stairs. When I was a lad in Bradford the cupboard under the stairs was mum’s haven during a thunderstorm, dad’s place to store lots of amazing builder’s tools, which although I didn’t know what they were used for they looked amazing, and my den when my two sisters were chasing me round the house.

My cupboard under the stairs used to be the coal store when the house was built and it was entered from the outside. Some years ago I bricked up the outside door, made a doorway inside from the hall and used the cupboard for the boiler. Some years later the boiler was moved elsewhere and the cupboard became a cold store room (no insulation). Also there was no light in there so it was very dark. Like the ottoman it was only opened to deposit some thing out of the way and closed again very quickly

Groping around in the cupboard looking for the car polishing bag it quickly became obvious that this room had also been waiting patiently for social separation in order to get tidied and cleaned out. It was full of unwanted boxes, bags, old broken toys and a couple of old backpacks that hadn’t been used since girls Springfield School days. I’m not a hoarder but I do have the ‘this may come in useful one day’ syndrome. I decided to be ruthless and throw it all out.

During the declutter process I came across three plastic bags inside an Asda carrier bag. Looking inside I found three plastic sample bags containing grain, one Wheat, one Barley and one unlabelled.

At Harvest Festival time I call on my farmer friend and he gives me samples of grain to use as preaching aids. After harvest I return them to him, however I recall that three or four years ago the weather was so bad after harvest that I dumped the bags under the stairs and forgot about them. Here they are still here under the stairs.

Peering into the orange Asda bags I could see traces of green and thought the grain had gone mouldy, – time to throw them out in the black bin. Looking at them more carefully in outside light the green wasn’t mould, the grain had made a definite attempt to germinate and some of the seed was showing green shoots. This was amazing considering the harsh environment within the cupboard and the lack of light essential to allow the grain to start the growing process.

I started to think about the parable of the sower (Mark 4 v 1 – 9), if the grain had been returned to the farmer would it have been scattered on the good ground and produced good crops? Was me, putting it in the cupboard under the stairs the same as hiding a light under a bushel, not giving the word of God to others but hiding it away? So often we miss the opportunities to spread the word of God but miss out because we hid it away.

But then I began to think of the parable of the growing seed (Mark 4 v 26 – 34) the farmer prepared the land, went home and slept, went and planted the seed then went home and slept and all the while the seeds are growing and will grow with or without the farmer’s attention. Why? Because it is God who gives the life to the grain, it is God who gives the soil it’s richness to make the stalk grow and the seed head to form.

That process went on even in the cupboard under the stair.

Next year I will not forget to take the samples back to the farm and with God’s help I will not miss any opportunity to spread the good news of our Lord Jesus Christ.    

Derek T.