“I didn’t mow it down,” my husband told me. “I thought you planted it.” The gardener next door assured us it was a corn-stalk. Nothing grows in our backyard, including grass unfortunately. But there it was, planted not by me but by God in his natural way. It was a stubborn little corn-stalk coming out of the ground unexpectedly and very rapidly. One day it was not there and the next day it was a foot or more tall. I never realized how rapidly corn grows. I wonder if it will bear any fruit? Nothing says summer like corn-on-the-cob. If I get just one ear of corn off that stalk I’m going to boil a pot of water and when the water is in a rapid boil, I will throw the little ear in and boil it for five minutes. I will split it with my husband and we will eat this miracle corn fresh from our one-stalk garden.
My husband and I sometimes go to visit family at Kezar Lake where there is a post along the road with a little closed box that has a slit on the top for money. Alongside the post are fresh ears of corn piled high on a table. Usually the corn has been picked only hours before and it is there for the taking for a small price. It is the most delicious corn. One summer we researched and experimented with several different corn-on-the-cob recipes. Here is what we found. Five minutes at a rapid boil will result in corn “al dente”, crisp and juicy; for 8 minutes of boiling the corn will be softer, and longer than that it begins to lose its flavor and grow mushy.
Most corn, especially sweet white corn, has been genetically modified for sweetness. However, recently corn has been genetically modified to withstand great amounts of herbicide and pesticide. So much so, that today’s GMO corn actually contains its own herbicide without any modification. When folks in the white lab coats laugh at GMO objectors, they claim we don’t know what we are talking about because genetically modifying seeds has been going on for decades. However, genetically modifying seeds for sweetness is much different from today’s modifying it for receiving poison. It is not the genetic modification we object to but the use of the process to make plants able to withstand huge amounts of herbicides and pesticides that without such modification, the plant would surely die. Such use destroys our land, our water supply and the creatures living in the water, and is possibly causing all sorts of medical problems for our children who are consuming more amounts of toxic poisons during their growth years.
Jesus talked a lot about seeds and planting because he lived in an agrarian society. People of that time understood plants and farming, sheep herding, and fig trees, and Jesus talks about all these things. It is difficult to understand when today most of us get our produce from the market. Nevertheless, I have many people in my life who understood what Jesus was talking about and have done what they could to help me understand. When we help each other to understand the message of Christ, a small seed of understanding is planted in our hearts. Jesus describes this process as a mustard seed that is a very small seed but when planted grows into an enormous tree that is abundant with life. He warns us of worries, troubling times, other people around us who behave contrary to his teachings, and the deceitfulness of wealth that can choke and kill the seed of understanding that was once planted. Learning about Jesus Christ, what he said and did for us is much different from what we first expect. His truth is not from human understanding but from God. God does not think like we do, so once we begin to read or hear what Jesus said and understand his intent for us, it is like a cold hard seed turning into a gracious living thing abundant with the joy of life that will never end. Our understanding is only a small shadowy plant now, an odd little stalk that has somehow shown up in the backyard of our thoughts.
When we first grasp the truth for which Christ lived and died, it is important to know that it is only one tiny stalk of understanding. Do not ignore it and certainly do not mow it down with worry or give up on it because of troubling times or the distractions bought by wealth. Instead, seek more understanding, and that little stalk may in time bear fruit that can be shared with others.
“And the seeds sown in the good soil stand for those who hear the message and understand it: they bear fruit, some as much as one hundred, others sixty and others thirty.” Jesus Christ from one of his many parables about seeds in Matthew 13