Armchair QB-The Parable of the Sower

That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake.  Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore.  Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “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.  Whoever has ears, let them hear.”  

The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?”
He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. This is why I speak to them in parables:
“Though seeing, they do not see;
though hearing, they do not hear or understand.
In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:
“‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
 For this people’s heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.’

But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.

“Listen then to what the parable of the sower means:  When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy.  But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful.  But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” Matthew 13:1-23 NIV

This is one of my favorite teachings of Jesus.  Perhaps it is because it is so visual.  Perhaps it is because it has so many pieces to gnaw on.  Whatever it is, right now, I am thinking about sowing.

For my job, I give a spirituality lecture on Thursdays to newly recovering fellows.  While it sounds up my alley, it has challenged me to learn to contextualize the Gospel and balance it in a post modern perspective, almost veiling the truth as Jesus did his parables.  Those who know understand and I have been honored to have some share their faith with me after the class.  Those who don't know, well, there are the curious who will still come to me with questions, and then there are those who simply don't find it relevant.

I think it is important to understand that, at best, we are merely to be faithful to the planting.  Whether it is recovery or grace, I am a sower.  Someone else may water, another weed, and so on, but ultimately, nothing grows without God's intervention.  I cannot make claims on anyone's growth, altho it is an honor to be a part of anyone's journey.

It startles me sometimes, that Jesus speaks of those who have closed eyes and ears.  Honestly, God and I battle about this.  While I know that I am supposed to accept his sovereignty in this, dang it, I love some people who don't get it.  Of course, perhaps they will someday.  Maybe I am part of their journey.   What if they will never understand, never hear?  Perhaps the evil one snatches the seed of the Word from them.? That ticks me off.  I want everyone that I love to know God, to walk in His grace.  It is not something that seems appropriate for a nonchalant lesson. 

Maybe it made Jesus' heart sad.  Maybe his voice cracked as he said it.  Maybe he silently pleaded with his Father as he taught his students.  I hope so.  Because that seems to be the only appropriate response to me: pray and sow.

May my own heart be good soil and may I sow seeds in faith that a crop will grow in others.


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