Growing in Secret

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We may be familiar with the parable of the sower but there is another parable about seeds being scattered on the ground. “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground, and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how” (Mark 4:26-27).

It appears to us as if we do all the work when we read or hear the Word of God. We plant the seeds of truth and reap the fruit. But we don’t see how the Lord “secretly” helps make these seeds sprout and grow in our lives. The Lord helps us in hidden ways to protect our freedom. He wants to help us learn His ways without taking away our ability to choose Him or reject Him. The reality is that we don’t need to know how the seed grows, as long as we know to plow and harrow the land and bless God when we reap the harvest!

The Story

Read about the parable of the seed growing secretly in the gospel of Mark 4:26-29.

Ideas for Discussion

  1. This short parable tells about the growth of seeds of truth from our perspective. We may “scatter seed on the ground” of our minds but be unaware of how the seeds sprout and grow. This pictures how the Lord helps us make spiritual progress while protecting our freedom.
  2. We are in freedom because the Lord’s ways are hidden, and we are unable to perceive His Diving providence moving “secretly” (see Apocalypse Explained 1153:5, 6).
  3. The Lord protects our freedom so that we are not forced to recognize His presence in our lives, but we are free to acknowledge what He does for us and to thank Him.
  4. Notice that the sower sleeps by night and rises by day. Sleeping by night means being immersed in our natural lives, while rising by day means waking up to our spiritual life from the Lord—being fully alive (see Apocalypse Explained 1006). The Lord works within us despite our alternating states of being spiritually awake or asleep!

Read more about the seed growing secretly

Projects and Activities for All Ages

  • What Do Plants Need?
    What happens if a plant does not have water, warmth, or light? Who provides these for plants and for us? These are just some of the ways that the Lord helps plants grow.
  • Watch the Growth of a Plant
    Suggestions for observing and reflecting on the growth of plants. Notice how the plant knows how to grow and seems to have a mind of its own. Yet it still needs nurturing with food and water in order to thrive.
  • The Lord Makes All Things Grow
    Just as the Lord causes flowers and trees to grow, so He causes us to grow into people who can become angels in heaven. Make a picture with the Lord in the center of the page, a picture of child sleeping nearby, and a plant or tree growing.
  • Secret Growth (ages 8-12)
    Two project ideas for illustrating the parable in Mark 4.
  • Receiving the Lord’s Word Journal Suggestion (teens and adults)
    What are some of the seeds of truth that you have found in the Lord’s Word?
  • Prayers for Children: Seeds of Truth
    Three prayers including “Heavenly Father, help us become good ground for Your seeds of truth” adapted from Matthew 13.
  • Seeds from the Lord Mosaic (ages 3-up)
    The Lord gives us seeds for plants that provide beautiful flowers and delicious fruits. Make a design with some of the seeds the Lord gives us.

“Of what consequence is it for a person to know how seed grows up,
provided he knows how to plow and harrow the land, to sow the seed,
and when he reaps his harvest to bless God?” (Apocalypse Explained 1153:6,9)

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