Hello, I’m Daniel Westfall on the channel “Pray With Me”.
Today, we look at Jesus’ parable of the sower. Here’s the story. When a farmer sowed his field, some seeds fell on the path and the birds ate them. Some fell on rocky ground where they grew quickly, but soon the sun scorched the new growth. Some seeds fell among thorns, but the thorns choked the young plants. And some fell on good ground and produced a generous crop.
When the disciples were alone with Jesus, they said, “What was that all about?”
Jesus explained that the seed is the word of God, it is the message Jesus brings, which gets different responses from different people. When people don’t understand the message, the evil one snatches it from them, like birds pecking seeds on the path. Some people, like seeds on rocky ground, receive Jesus’ message gladly and believe for a little while, but something else attracts their attention and they move on to other interests. Some people, like the seeds falling among thorns, receive Jesus’ words; but the weeds of worry and riches and pleasures choke the little plants. Finally, the seeds on good ground are those with a “noble and good heart, who hear Jesus’ message, retain it, and by persevering, produce a crop” (Luke 8:15).
Here are three observations on this parable:
First, some people want to change the title from the “Parable of the Sower” to the “Parable of the Soils” because they say the point of the story is in the different types of soil. In this view, we need to take soil samples in our life, and create conditions in which Jesus’ word will grow in us. I agree that this is one of the points of the parable. But another important point is the sower’s point of view: when people preach Jesus’ message, what sort of responses should they expect? As for the title, since in Matthew’s gospel Jesus called his story the “Parable of the Sower”, I stick with his title.
Second, the parable demonstrates that Jesus’ words are not always powerful in themselves. In the creation story, when God spoke his word, the universe sprang into being. This makes us think, “God’s word is powerful. It can do anything. Jesus’ words should be the same!”
But the parable of the sower doesn’t teach it that way. The word of God Jesus teaches does not automatically take root in your life and create something new and amazing.
When I was in seminary, one of the students asked, “Why aren’t people’s lives changed when they hear God’s word preached every Sunday?” I commented to him that Jesus expected his words to be eaten by birds and stolen by the evil one and scorched by the sun and choked by thorns. He anticipated that only some of his words would be received, that only some would find good soil to grow in.
My last observation is that if you want Jesus’ message to change your life, it requires some cooperation and effort on your part. Let bits of the word settle like seeds into the soil of your life, water the seeds and protect them from the scorching sun, and pull the weeds, until the message matures into a harvest.
Our father, what kind of soil are we? I suspect most of us are a mixed landscape. Some places in our lives are rocky soil where your word doesn’t grow. Some places are overgrown with weeds that choke your word. And some places are rich soil where we love your word and let it grow in us and change us.
We ask you to increase the good soil in our lives. Pull up the weeds, pick out the rocks, protect the tender plants that take root, and help us mature in the warm sunshine of your love.
I’m Daniel on the channel “Pray with Me”.