He Sees Me
“Listen,” he almost whispers as his inner circle leans in.
I lean in myself, as I can’t quite see his face, but I dare not get any closer lest someone tell my husband…
“A farmer went out to plant some seeds.” It was planting season. My husband had been hired out a day north. I miss the safety of being with him, but it has been a relief because of how demanding he has been. With the drought, the Roman threat, and high taxes, we’re just trying to survive.
“As he scattered the seeds across his field, some fell on a footpath and birds came and ate them.” I glanced down at my feet, covered with dust from the walk.
“Other seeds fell on shallow soil. They sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow, but then they wilted under the hot sun.” I knew all too well the excitement of hope and the disappointment of failed dreams.
“Some seeds fell among thorns that choked the tender plants.” My hand reached for my throat; feeling as if I, in my simple faith in this man some called Messiah, was choking from unbelief.
“Other seeds fell on fertile soil and produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted!” My head jerked up. Could this happen? Despite birds, sun, and thorns?
Some wandered away; they couldn’t understand. This man talks in stories when we want him to be clear. I’m listening. I’m feeling. I’m trying to understand, but it feels just outside of my reach.
As they left, I saw a chance to get a little bit closer, standing just outside of his circle of disciples as they asked him, “Why do you speak in parables?”
Looking intently into their faces, he replied, “You are permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others are not. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge.” As he looked around his small circle of believers, it felt as if he caught a glimpse of me. I shrank back, knowing I wasn’t worthy, but he didn’t call me out.
“But for those who are not listening, even what they understand will be taken away. They look, but they don’t see. They hear, but don’t understand.”
My mind took me elsewhere as he continued to talk. I was preoccupied with the choice I had to make. Would I stay close to this man and try to understand? Did I have ears to hear?
Or should I leave? Leaders in the temple had left. Some smarter, more respected, and much wealthier drifted away. Why do I feel this magnetism to stay, to hear what comes next?
“Blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, but didn’t see it. They longed to hear what you hear, but didn’t hear it.”
Jesus’ voice got louder as he spoke, as if he wanted to make sure I heard him. He was blessing me for staying! As he spoke about his truth, every word had confidence, authority beyond those in the temple. He spoke of prophets of old as if he knew them, their hearts, their longings.
“Now listen to the explanation of the parable about the farmer planting seeds.” He had my full attention.
“The seed on the footpath represents those who hear my message but don’t understand it. The evil one comes and snatches away the seed that was planted in their hearts.” I knew that had been true about me. I had heard of Jesus before, but felt hard in my heart, and as quick as the thought of learning more about him was planted, it was gone.
“The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and receive it with joy. Since they don’t have deep roots, it doesn’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted.” I looked at my feet again, thinking about how I had begun to feel hopeful, seen, accepted. Would this feeling last? Is my soil an inch deep? My heart has gotten so hard, that even when I began to thaw, I get to a place that feels too vulnerable, too raw, I shrink back.
“The seed among thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but the message is crowded out by the worries of life and the lure of wealth.” My husband is coming back tomorrow. Will I be afraid to tell him about Jesus and his stories?
“The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!” Jesus’ voice rose as he ended his story with a burst of confidence and hope. Even I could feel it.
Then I saw him look at me. Our eyes locked. He believed I could be good soil. I can’t explain it, but in that moment I was not just a haggard, poor woman, but I was a plant with roots going deep, deep into crevices of my heart where only fear was before. He believed I could produce a harvest, not of grain, but of spiritual farmers who would spread the seed themselves, and would bear fruit far beyond my imagination…
He sees me.
If this blog post seems a little different, that’s because it is! A writer in the Summit family penned this creative interpretation of how the kingdom parables found in Matthew Chapter 13 relate to our lives.
Maggie Bruehl has been attending Summit with her family since the second service ever! She also serves on the Operations Advisory Team and has spoken at "For Her: A Speaker Series."
Artwork by LJ Judy.