By Ma Angélica Ballén de Coffman
Daughter of God, wife and mother of 2 beautiful children.
But when the crop permits, he immediately puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come. (Mark 4:29)
Have you heard about the Dandelion? This flower, which grows in many parts of the world, helped me understand a little more about what it means to be a “mature grain.” For some, this flower is a nuisance because it reproduces quickly and is considered a weed; for others, it has been of great medicinal benefit. For some children—like my children—this flower is very special. My kids love to blow on it and see how its seeds spread in the wind.
Just as these seeds are scattered everywhere, so it is God's longing that His gospel be known in every part of the world. It is His longing that we also understand the importance of dying to give life and that we, as His ambassadors, bring life and medicine to a world that cries out for love and hope.
In the movie 'Summer Snow' I found the beautiful story of a mom who explained to her young daughter Hallie a little more about this surprising plant. Here is their conversation:
"Look, Hallie, a white [dandelion]. I love the white ones. They were my favorite when I was a little girl, because you blow them and then it looks like it’s snowing….Wanna know a secret? The yellow ones and the white ones are the same flower. The yellow ones turn white when they die and then they get all these little white fuzzy things which are actually seeds, and when you blow them they go all over. They land in the ground, and they turn into a new dandelion. You know, I think God made people a lot like dandelions: He wants us to spread His love to the entire world.”
- “Well, we have to be willing to change. You see, there’s a Hallie who only cares about herself, and that Hallie needs to die and let God change her into a new Hallie who loves God and other people.”
- “How do I change?”
- “You start by asking God to show you what you're doing wrong and forgive you.”
Like Hallie, I often wonder how I do it. How do I die to myself? How can I spread love? God has led me through the years to recognize that nothing depends on how good I am or how much I do for God, but on how good He is and how perfect is His work by His Spirit through me. I have also come to understand that as I draw nearer to God, His work will be reflected in my life as a natural outworking of Christ living in me. This is similar to the process that the seed follows until it reaches maturity.
“And He was saying, ‘The kingdom of God is like a man who casts seed upon the soil; and he goes to bed at night and gets up by day, and the seed sprouts and grows—how, he himself does not know. The soil produces crops by itself; first the blade, then the head, then the mature grain in the head. But when the crop permits, he immediately puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.’” (Mark 4:26-29)
As I read the whole context of this passage in Mark 4 and Luke 6 and 7, I notice some characteristics the Lord sees in a person who is the “good soil” that the seed fell upon—a person who is maturing well:
• Listens, understands, and sees
• Has strong roots
• Does not let himself be choked out
• Bears fruit with perseverance
• Has a good and righteous heart
• Retains the Word he hears
• Shines in the midst of darkness: "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 5:16)
• Is not distracted: "Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:13-14)
• Hears the Word of God and does what it says
• Is confident in the midst of the storm: Acts 27:13-44
• Has a heart that has been purified, and others can see it: “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good” (Luke 6:45)
• His goals and their end are in the treasures that endure and not in those that perish: "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal.” (Matthew 6:19-20)
But how do I continue to mature? By abiding, obeying, and dying.
“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4-5)
"…the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.” (John 2:6)
These verses serve as a test and can help us renew our focus when we realize we are not walking as God desires and are not producing fruit.
Maturity is a long process of obedience that I have seen in lived out in God’s Word in the stories of ordinary people in whom and with whom God did extraordinary things. But I have also seen it lived out around me in men, women, and children whom God has used and taken beyond what they ever imagined. Throughout their lives, they have learned to see and hear from God's perspective. You and I are also, by His grace, included in this verse:
“But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. For truly I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.” (Matthew 13:16-17)
This is a great privilege! I ask God to help us faithfully value that privilege. It is my desire to continue seeing how God sees. I want to see more extraordinary and incredible things that God will do in His kingdom, in Grain of Wheat, and in the whole world. I want to see like Elisha did and to help others to see.
“Now when the attendant of the man of God had risen early and gone out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was circling the city. And his servant said to him, ‘Alas, my master! What shall we do?’ So he answered, ‘Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’ Then Elisha prayed and said, ‘O Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.’ And the Lord opened the servant’s eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” (2 Kings 6:15-17)
As I read this, I realize how often I see the world on an earthly and non-spiritual level; I realize how many things I have missed seeing. I identify more with the servant in the above passage than with Elisha. But, by His grace, God still allowed the servant to see and rejoice in His power. I think the servant never forgot that moment and came to see many more things from then on. I pray that the Lord will allow us to accomplish all of His eternal purposes and that our lives will become like the Dandelion that, when it dies, produces much fruit.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” (John 12:24)
Jesus has been our greatest example in that He died to give us life, and this is encouraging, because who better than He could lead us in this process of dying to ourselves? It is motivating to know that death, although it is difficult, will never be in vain because it will bear much fruit.
*All Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Version.
* Movie trailer for SummerSnow