If you like to have a good weep, then watch the film Mr. Holland’s Opus. It’s all about a composer working on a symphony who takes a job as a music teacher to support his wife and son. At first, he is frustrated by teaching and dreams only of finishing his composition. But he gradually learns to love his job and to see how much he has taught his students—and how much they have taught him. The film’s message is best expressed in a verse from a John Lennon song that Holland sings for his deaf son: “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.”
Unexpected results is also a theme of the two parables we have just heard. The farmer can’t predict how good his harvest will be from just planting seeds. And someone who knows nothing about mustard plants can’t possibly imagine that they grow from such small seeds. But that’s the point. It’s often the case that when we’re working on one thing, God is doing something else in our hearts, creating something new that we can’t recognise until we look back and see it. Hindsight is a great thing.
We need to be vigilant at avoiding sin and growing in virtue. But it can be a confident, happy vigilance, secure in the knowledge that God will bring growth in the areas of our lives he knows we need the most. Like I said yesterday, all we have to do is plant the seeds and tend the growing shoots, and let God do the rest.
God doesn’t always show us what he is doing in our lives, which in some ways is a good thing. Rather than expending so much energy and time trying to figure everything out for ourselves, we should devote ourselves simply to loving God and our neighbour. If we can restrict our focus and our personal ambition, then we can rest assured that God will take care of everything else.