Mark 4:26-29

            Yeah, I’ve heard the saying “absence makes the heart grow fonder” a million times, but it always seemed to apply to someone else.  18 years ago this past June, we welcomed our first-born son into the world.  And as if with one ‘snap’ of the finger, the years flew by to the present.  Now, we’re on the cusp of handing our little “Lion King” into the allegedly capable hands of the collegiate world.  Is this what Isaac felt when he offered his son on the altar?  That might be a bit dramatic, even for an emote like me.

I have been reflecting on this time though.  In doing so, I was reminded of the ‘farming’ section (that’s what I like to call it) in the gospel of Mark chapter 4.  Here, Jesus’ listeners understood the agricultural reality relative to the Kingdom growth.  And, if you’ll allow me, I’d like to parallel this humbling parable with this transitional time in our life.

When I re-read this passage, I was excited to find that there’s a seasonal Kingdom principle at work here.  There’s a scattering season(v26), a growth season(27&28), then a harvest season(v29). While each of these seasons could be a sermon unto themselves, it seems like the harvest season is the one we’re in.

As with every season, timing is crucial.  Verse 29 says, “as soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.”   This imagery is powerful and weaves an image that mandates a specific time of putting the sickle to the grain.  When is that time?  The word says, “when the grain is ripe!”  Am I suggesting putting a sickle to our son who’s headed off to college?  Of course not! But in a figurative sense, we are.  Because the grain is ripe.  Or to put it another way, when the grain is ready, it’s time to cut it loose!

If you are a parent or have a friend or sibling who’s about to be cut loose, then you know full well the pain associated with ‘cutting ties’ or ‘putting the sickle to the grain’.   Doing so often goes against every instinct we have.  But, it’s vital we obediently do so.  Why?  Because if we don’t, the grain will spoil and we’ll miss the God-intended harvest time.

Whatever of the 3 seasons you are in, know that pain will inevitably be associated with the transition.  If you’re like us, then you may even be experiencing spasms of grief.  That’s OK.  Work to trust Jesus’ words that the timing and the grain are ripe!   After all, it’s Jesus who provides the increase in the harvest.  Not us.  So cling to him.   As the saying goes, “let go and let God”.   That’s where we are.  It’s here we want to give to Jesus this harvest season where the absence of our son will truly make our hearts grow fonder.