This is my thought pattern while tending my own garden:
"What an irresponsible farmer, just throwing seed around like that! Doesn't he know what a precious thing he has?!?" Then I hear Him say...he is scattering it because it is precious. BURN! The farmer wants everyone he comes in contact with to hear of God's great love, so he scatters it everywhere he goes. Then I have to ask myself, am I keeping my seed under lock and key? Or am I sharing it with all who will listen - "Who ever has ears to hear, let them hear."
Then I think about the seeds that fall on the rocky soil and into the weeds - both of which are problems in my gardening world. I think, "Man, that farmer has some good seed if it is going to sprout up everywhere it falls!" (we all know the problems I have had with seeds!) and then, "What kind of gardener would just let those seedlings die?" Since I had to coax my little seeds into life, those little plants are precious to me - they represent lots of invested time and work, so I am not about to let them die just because they are planted in the wrong place!
This thought brought me to the passage in 1st Corinthians, where Paul is addressing the church and says that (paraphrasing) some people get to plant the seed, and some get to water it, but only God makes it grow - and that each person plays their part in the process, each person has their own purpose.
You see we all have jobs in this garden of a world, and it is very important that we find out what those jobs are - what our purpose is in the Kingdom. I personally think that there are many more jobs in the garden other than planting and watering - you have to pull the weeds, and treat the soil, you have to pick off the bugs, and make sure the plants are growing well. I guess the important part is finding out what your purpose in the garden happens to be - and maybe the more challenging aspect is that you could have different roles in different people's lives at different times in their life.
I think all too many times the seed sprouts and there is no one around to care for the tender little plant. It may start to grow up in the rocky soil or get choked out by the weeds of life, but it doesn't mean that the plant is any less precious to the Gardener!
I, for one, will start paying more attention to the which role I have in the lives of the people God has put in my garden. Should I water them? Should I feed them? Should I pull weeds (ouch!)? Should I transplant them? Always remembering that it is God that makes them grow, and that the actions I take should be guided by the Holy Spirit - not my own desire to rush their growth. It seems like such a difficult task, but so was starting a garden in my grass covered, rocky soiled, ant infested backyard! I am so glad we have the Holy Spirit to guide us through all of the challenges we face in life, let's just take them one day at a time!