Common Milkweed with Seed Pod and Wild Rose with Rose Hip

He told many stories in the form of parables, such as this one: “Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds. … Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted!” [Matthew 13:3,8 (NLT)]

Here is another story Jesus told: “The Kingdom of heaven is alike a farmer who planted good seed in his field. But that night as the workers slept, his enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat, then slipped away. When the crop began to grow and produce grain, the weeds also grew.” [Matthew 13:14-16 (NLT)]

I’d only stepped a few feet off the path to photograph a flower and yet my pants were covered with sticky seedpods from the tick trefoil. I spent the rest of the walk picking off the pods and scattering them along the trail. After carefully stepping over a pile of seed-studded raccoon poop, I pondered how a flower’s life is really all about spreading its seeds any way it can.

Like the tick trefoil and burdock, some flowers have pods (often called “sticktights”) that attach to clothes and animals and ride through the forest on pants’ legs and fur until they find a good home. Flowers like the false Solomon’s seal, honeysuckle and pokeweed produce fruit that is eaten by animals, like that raccoon, who then leave the seeds behind in their waste. Other wildflowers, like the asters and milkweed, have seeds attached to a feathery sort of “parachute” so the wind can blow them away to fertile soil. Flowers may be stuck in the ground but that doesn’t keep them from spreading their seeds to make more of their kind.

Would that we Christians were as determined to spread God’s word as the flowers are to scatter their seeds. In Matthew 13, Jesus told a parable about a farmer who planted seeds and the kind of soil on which his seeds fell. Types of soil, however, make no difference if a farmer never bothers to plant any seeds! As pretty as it is, the rose knows that its job is not to be beautiful; its job is to reproduce, bear fruit (rose hips), and spread its seeds far and wide. Unlike the rose, how many of us are content to sit pretty and not even think about bearing fruit, let alone spreading God’s word?

It is obvious by the colorful flowers in the park’s prairie that the native wildflowers have done their seed-spreading job well. Unfortunately, it’s not just the native plants dispersing their seeds—the undesirable invasive species like thistles, garlic mustard, and stinging nettle are doing a good job of expanding their territory as well. Jesus told another parable in Matthew 13, one about a farmer who planted good seeds but the enemy came along and planted weeds in his field. The invasive plant species have made headway in the prairie as has the enemy in our troubled world. You can bet Satan is spreading his evil as fast as possible; are we doing our part to spread the gospel message?

He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.” [Matthew 9:37-38 (NLT)]

And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone. [Mark 16:15 (NLT)]