Seeds are powerful. When they are planted they can grow. We know that they take nutrients, water, and light to live and grow. They also take time.
Throughout the Bible God uses parables with seeds and plants to teach us deep truths.
Here are a few times Jesus spoke about seeds:
The Parable of the Sower: Matthew 13:1-9, explained in verses 18-23
The Parable of the Weeds: Matthew 13:24-30, explained in verses 36-43
The Mustard Seed: Matthew 13:31-32
Comforting Promises from God:
“And when the Lord smelled the pleasing aroma, the Lord said in his heart, ‘I will never again curse[a] the ground because of man, for the intention of man's heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done. 22 While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.’’” (ESV)
“Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! 6 He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.”
This family activity will take a couple of days. On the first day, you’ll plants seeds together. The second day, you will pretend to be impatient and expect something immediately from the seeds you planted yesterday. In the classroom the kids had fun explaining to me all sorts of things about patience and waiting.
Day 1: Planting Seeds
You will need:
- Seeds (vegetable seeds and sunflower seeds tended to be popular in the classroom)
- Container for the seeds (no need to spend money, a yogurt cup or an empty milk carton can become a great planter; if you are blessed to have space for a garden outside, there’s no need to plant in containers unless you’d like to)
- Old newspaper (this is to cover the place where you are filling the containers with dirt)
- Scissors (if you cut the top off the milk container, you can use less dirt)
Steps for Planting:
1. Save milk cartons and yogurt cups.
2. Choose seed types as a family. Read the directions on the back of the seed packet to find out critical information about planting depth, water, and light. If a seed needs full sun, it will not grow well in the shaded window. This is a great time to ask some discussion questions.
* Why are there directions on a seed packet?
* Why do directions matter?
* How long will these seeds take to grow?
* Why will we have to wait so long?
* Why is waiting important?
3. Fill containers with dirt.
4. Use your finger to poke holes into the dirt to the depth called for on the seed packet. The length of your thumb from fingertip to first knuckle is about one inch.
5. Place seeds into the holes you made and cover them with dirt.
6. Water the seeds.
7. Place the containers in a sunny location.
* Why do we need to water the seeds?
* Why did we put the containers in a sunny place?
* What would happen if we forgot to water the seeds?
Day 2: Waiting for Growth
- Containers where you planted the seeds yesterday (If you planted them in the garden, go to the location)
- A dramatic self
- Thoughtful children
1. Have your family join you by the containers with seeds.
2. Start having a silly, dramatic moment about not seeing any food yet! Depending on what you planted, say things like, “I can’t believe this! I planned on having a tomato in my sandwich today, and where is my tomato? I can’t believe this!” If you’re having a hard time getting yourself to that dramatic place, picture Pigeon from Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus being dramatic, it’s written by Mo Willems.
Your children might remind you that you need to wait and that seeds take time to grow.
“I planned ahead. I planted the tomato seeds yesterday! I’ve waited a whole day! This isn’t fair!”
The children might remind you that you read the seed packet with them yesterday and that the seeds won’t be ready for a long time.
Calm down from your silly dramatics and listen to the kids explain.
When I did this with my students, I was amazed at how insightful they were. They were also very excited to come in the classroom and see how their plants were coming along.
* When have you had to wait for something important?
* Who in the Bible had to wait for something or someone? What happened?
* Why is waiting important?
Here a few Bible stories your family might like to read and discuss. There are many more in God's Word who had to wait as well.
- Noah and his Family: Genesis 7:17-8:12
- Abraham and Sarah: Genesis 17:15-17
- Hannah: I Samuel 1:26-28
- Elizabeth and Zechariah: Luke 1:5-25, 57-80
- Simeon: Luke 2:25-35
- A Paralyzed Man and his Friends: Luke 5:17-26
- The Apostles: Acts 1:4-11, Acts 2:1-4
Here's a great reminder:
"Wait for the LORD;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the LORD!" Psalm 27:14 ESV
The Big Idea
Sometimes an experience helps us understand deeper concepts. Jesus used parables, and some people took His words to heart. Planting seeds is powerful. Waiting is time for tender growth.
Questions to Ponder With Children:
What type of seeds would you like to plant next time? Why?
What do plants need to live? How do you know?
How long did it take to see growth?
What seeds will you plant with your words, actions and attitude?
Books about Seeds and Something More:
A reading of The Empty Pot read by Rami Malek. You can buy a copy of this delightful book written and illustrated by Demi here.
Seeds and Trees, written by Brandon Walden and illustrated by Kristen and Kevin Howdeshell, is a new book about the power of words.