Scripture: Matthew 13: 18- 23 CEB
The passage you just heard is commonly known as the parable of the sower. A parable is a short story that illustrates something about God’s nature. It contains a pearl of wisdom that helps keep our minds and hearts working for God’s kingdom. This particular parable is meant to encourage us to share Jesus and the good seed of His gospel with every person, no matter the place or the times we are living in. It also reminds us that growth and transformation will occur in God’s timing.
Before we talk about this parable, I want to ask you a question.
When a sower or a farmer prepares to plant seeds, what is their chief concern? You gardeners and farmers probably know this already. It’s the soil! During my senior year in college, I learned from an agriculture professor about the importance of good soil. Some seeds need acidic soils and others prefer soil that is a bit more alkaline. So, a smart farmer wisely plants the seed on the best ground in order to produce the most fruit.
Our parable begins with a farmer who is on his way to work. The farmer in Jesus’ parable does something unexpected. He throws the same seed on four different kinds of soils. The narrative doesn’t focus on the little seed that is scattered but on the various kinds of soil that receive it. The different results are tied to the soil, with the good soil bringing forth the most fruit.
This parable can teach us a lesson today. In this case, we Christians are the farmers, the seed is the gospel message, and the people we share the gospel with are the diverse soils. Christ is inviting us to become His sowers, His farmers. He wants workers who are willing to toss the seed of the gospel everywhere. Jesus acknowledges that some seeds will be lost, but He also promises a great harvest for the seed that falls on good soil.
This parable teaches us a heavenly perspective. It is not our place to worry about whether the gospel-seed will be wasted on people who behave like the scribes and Pharisees, or who love fame, power, money, and many other pleasures. It’s not up to us to judge anyone or to focus on any results. Jesus’ farmers must sow everywhere! This is the main point of this parable. The gospel-seed that falls on good soil will sprout, grow, and change the world.
Christians should be willing to go to the fields where God wants to send us. The gospel-seeds that we plant will find their way to a dwelling place, be transformed, and bear fruit, yielding a hundred to one, sixty to one, and thirty to one. Jesus promised that the time will come when people close to you will hear the gospel and respond, giving God the whole glory. Knowing that our mission field and spiritual gifts are diverse, some of us farmers help with small Bible class groups, or at hospitals, or soup kitchens. Others will go on missions to God-forsaken places or become justice advocates and ecology defenders. What really matters is that everyone has a call and a place of ministry.
Church, we are even now doing good things in our community, sowing gospel-seeds in many places! We conduct worship, teach children about Jesus, support missionaries in Cuba, and sponsor the homeless through groups like Halifax Urban Ministries, Palmetto House, Family Renew, and Provision Packs. We’re doing things to help the poor and needy. But sometimes we wonder and doubt if our efforts are having an impact. Not everyone receives the gospel gladly. Perhaps you are tempted to think you have wasted your time sharing the gospel with deaf receivers, or that your timing was off. I invite you to ponder this parable of the sower. Jesus is telling us, “don’t let your doubts or worries bother you!” God is in control. Trust God. Trust the Holy Spirit. Trust the Gospel-seed. Love God and love your neighbor. Do what God is calling you to do. Then leave the rest to God.
Take heart. God will transform the seed. It will grow, and at the right time, it will bear fruit.
Heavenly Father, give us the faith and the strength we need
to go and sow the seed of the gospel everywhere.
Knowing that it is You, who will make it grow and produce its fruits.
In the name of Jesus, we pray.