Parable of the Growing Seed: Mark 4:26-29
In this parable of the growing seed, the kingdom of God is compared to a person sowing seed. This situation is similar to the Parable of the Sower and the Four Soils, except that the focus has shifted from the seed (which is compared to the word of God) and the soil (compared to people’s hearts) to the person sowing the seed, which is compared to the kingdom of God.
He then tells the Parable of the Lamp Under a Basket and essentially teaches that those who listen and gain understanding of the secrets of the kingdom through the parables, will receive more understanding (compare Mark 4:11 with Mark 4:24-25; the entire section is connected, with verses 24 and 25 being Jesus' concluding point about the parables.)
"And he said to them, 'To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside, everything comes in parables.'" (Mark 4:11)
"And he said to them, 'Pay attention to what you hear; the measure you give will be the measure you get, and still more will be given you. For to those who have, more will be given; and from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away.'" (Mark 4:24-25)
Jesus then begins to tell this parable of the growing seed.
This parable of the growing seed is a very short story.
According to Jesus, "The kingdom of God is as if [a person] would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come." (Mark 4:26-29)
The point Jesus is making can be found in the last verse of the parable: "But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come." (Mark 4:29)
Considering what Jesus has taught about the parable of the sower and the four soils, the seed is still the word of God. However, the sower and reaper are the people of the kingdom of God. This fact can be seen because the kingdom of God can represent the people, just like the people of God's kingdom represent the kingdom of God.
While we, God's people, may be oblivious to how God makes the seed grow, we are called to lead people to repentance and obedience to God. "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you." (Matthew 28:19-20)
This perception of the parable can be seen because we are called by Jesus to be reapers in God's harvest. "Then he said to his disciples, 'The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.'" (Matthew 9:37-38)