Posted on October 16, 2013
#24: From One Small Seed
Welcome to our current Wednesdays in the Word study! Knowing Jesus is a step-by-step look at Jesus’ life through the “lens” of Mark’s gospel. Today’s post will be a bit unusual. I want to tell you a story—a true story—that perfectly illustrates the point of Jesus’ mini-parables in today’s scripture.
Read Mark 4:26-34, containing two little illustrations Jesus told about the kingdom of God—both of which involved planting seed. Now read on. . . .
A Single Seed
David and Svea Flood were an eager young missionary couple out to win Africa to Jesus. They, along with their two-year-old son, joined another young couple and traveled to a remote area in the Belgian Congo (later called Zaire). They began trying to open a relationship with a nearby tribe. The hostile chief would not let them enter his village, allowing contact with just one boy who sold them food twice a week.
Svea Flood resolved if she could interact with only one African, she would spare no effort to lead that one to Christ. Through periods of severe illness and a difficult pregnancy, Svea taught the boy. He surrendered his life to Jesus shortly before Svea’s baby girl was born. Seventeen days later, Svea died from complications of childbirth and malaria.
An embittered David Flood left his newborn daughter with the other mission couple, took his son, and left both the mission field and God behind. “God has ruined my life,” he said.
Eventually, the baby girl—Aggie—was adopted by an American couple who brought her to the States. She grew up, attended Bible college, and married a minister. Through a fascinating series of “coincidences,” Aggie learned that the young boy her mother had brought to Christ had won his entire village, including the chief. Some 600 Christians now occupied that village, many of whom had carried the message of Christ to others.
Later, Aggie and her husband attended a mission convention in London where she heard a representative from Zaire speak, representing 110,000 Christians. After the session, she introduced herself to the speaker, asking if he’d ever heard of Svea Flood. He hugged Aggie and began to weep. “She taught me about Jesus,” he sobbed. He was the boy Svea had won so many years earlier.
Aggie later met her biological father David, and brought him news of thousands of Christians in Zaire, the fruit of his and Svea’s work. “You didn’t go to African in vain,” Aggie told her father. “Mama didn’t die in vain. The one seed you planted just kept growing and growing.” Eventually, David released his anger against God, and returned to faith.*
A Great Harvest
David Flood spent many years believing his life had been wasted, yet all the while the seed of salvation planted in one young boy was bearing an incredible harvest!
In Mark 4:26-34, Jesus taught His listeners that a sower’s job was to plant the seed; the rest of the growing process was not his responsibility. He then reminded them that the smallest seed was capable of producing the largest of plants.
You may have looked at your own life or witness as fruitless. If you’ve believed your role in God’s kingdom to be insignificant, understand this: you have no idea what crop He may be bringing from the seeds you’ve planted. From the smallest effort, He can bring an abundant harvest!
The apostle Paul understood that his task was to plant seeds of hope in Christ wherever he could, but that he would not often be the one to water those seeds with teaching, or see those seeds bear fruit. He was content to do his part (1 Cor. 3:5-9). Let the story of David and Svea Flood remind you that you play only one role in the harvest cycle. Sow the seed of Jesus, and leave the rest up to God.
A Living Legacy
There came a day when Aggie Hurst knelt beside her mother’s grave in Zaire. Decades after a 27-year-old missionary wife had shared Jesus with a small African boy, the villagers told Aggie, “Svea Flood is the most famous person in our history.” That doesn’t sound like a wasted life to me! Your legacy may be similar. Keep sowing your seed.
*Read Aggie Hurst’s story in her book, Aggie: The Inspiring Story of a Girl Without a Country, also published under the title One Witness. (Springfield, MO: Gospel Publishing House, 1986.)
© Diane McLoud 2013