A Parable of Patience

A parable is literally ‘something thrown alongside.’ And the purpose of the parable is to draw our response and participation into the story involving our imagination! The point of the parables that Jesus used in conversation may not be something new to us but rather an opening up of something that we have not previously seen before. It may be something we have not taken seriously and thought unimportant but suddenly find ourselves involved in a process of change.


I must confess that I am not an experienced gardener but after seeing the results of others who paved the way I decided to have a go myself. We have a piece of ground in our garden at the side of our home which was overrun with weeds on poor-quality soil. The task of creating a new flower bed was somewhat daunting and would require patience.

This little project was going to take months before we were able to even sow our wildflower seeds. Slow, steady preparation over a week to dig up the old grass ensuring the roots were all pulled out, and then the covers were laid over the prepared area to keep out the light and prevent the weeds from germinating.

The hard work of removing the invasive weeds and soil preparation had been completed. Phew!

After about four months I decided to pull off the covers and remove the roots I had missed. Then came the final push to rake the soil and sow the seed. As I covered these tiny seeds I was reminded of Jesus’ words, “Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” [1]

Of course, I thought that all the hard work had been completed. Yet an even more significant challenge awaited this novice gardener. Waiting!


Some of you may smile but after a week I went out to have a look at our little patch of ground. Nothing! Absolutely nothing. Each day I eagerly went out to inspect our well-prepared ground. Nothing! At least nothing was visible, but I hoped something was taking place under the soil. Unseen! After a while, I became disheartened thinking that our sowing had failed. But waiting was developing something within me like perseverance, patience, and trust. We had watered and prepared the ground so faithfully. You can see where I am going with this story.


But one day I went out to check and I couldn’t believe it, small scattered green shoots had begun to push up through the soil. I raced into my wife, Jenny, excitedly asking her to come and see. Suddenly, almost overnight flowers appeared and increased daily as the warmth of the sun and late Spring rains brought significant growth. We talked between us about the significance of this project. The preparation, the nurturing, and of course the challenge of patiently waiting. Can you see yourself in this parable?

As you will see from the photo in the header the reward of patient waiting has been stunningly beautiful. Each flower has its own beauty, colour, shape, and fragrance. A beautiful uniqueness all of its own. This parable, if we allow it will open up our understanding of what Jesus did for us as He led the way in bringing about, His Church through His own violent death, and glory-filled resurrection – A GLORIOUS COMMUNITY OF HIS VERY OWN PEOPLE!

[1] John 12:24,25.