Posted by: Renee | June 14, 2011

Sowing seeds

by Renee Sappington

The United Methodists in Mississippi just had our statewide Annual Conference this past weekend. For those who don’t know, the conference is the setting for denominational business meetings, elections, and ordinations. These words by Desmund TuTu were shared with a friend who was ordained this weekend, and she chose to share them with others: “Goodness is stronger than evil. Love is stronger than hate. Light is stronger than darkness. Life is stronger than death. Victory is ours through Him who loves us.”

Many folks were happy with the votes taken at the conference this year, feeling like the slate of delegates elected to go to the General Conference is more balanced than times before. On the other hand, there were resolutions passed at the conference that hurt many of our hearts – resolutions that build walls between us and people of other religions, resolutions that overlook the tragically real situations in life that make reproductive choice necessary, and resolutions that fail to honor the Gospel connection between tending to the suffering in the world and tending to the souls.

When I think about all the prayers, conversations, and effort that went into Annual Conference this year, all the courageous voices heard from the conference floor, and the outcomes I’ve just mentioned above, it makes me think about the parable of the sower – the one where: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

I was fortunate to hear the best sermon ever preached on this parable a few years ago. In it, the minister pointed out what I’d never noticed before: how the farmer in the story is so careless with the seed, even wasteful, with seeds spilling in places that it wouldn’t grow. It’s not clear to me whether the farmer was intentional in his sowing pattern, maybe he had a hole in his bag or maybe his bag was overflowing with seeds, or maybe he just couldn’t tell which soil might yield a return or not so he scattered them everywhere. I don’t know, but I hope we’ll intentionally be like that sower, scattering God’s seeds of love and goodness, light and life to all around us, purposefully not discriminating against places and people that seem less “promising” for surely, victory isn’t ours until it’s everyone’s.



  1. “Victory isn’t ours until it’s everyone’s.” Perfectly spoken. Thank you Renee! Finally I have a succinct quote to use when people ask me why I’m never satisfied with the knowledge that I was allowed on the bus today, because I know in my heart that others are still struggling for that right.

  2. from many of the Vaguely Progressive posts I read, it seemed that many seeds were sowed. thank you for your diligence and love in this process. I read this quote in the Upper Room this morning in an devo about apartheid and I believe it resonates with the mission of DREAM and RCM…

    Our world will always need Christians to say to the darkness, “I beg to differ”

    thanks and blessings
    Judy Miller

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