Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Behold. A farmer went out to plant some seed. As he went along, he spread some seed on the road. And some he spread along the rocky slopes. And some of the seeds were spread amongst the weeds and thistles. But there was some seed that fell on the plowed and fertile soil.
This farmer, according to today’s methods of farm management would probably be considered pretty inefficient. In verse 8, it says, ‘But some fell on good soil…..’ Not all of the seed, but some. This would imply that a good portion of the seed was cast onto less than perfect conditions. Can you just see this farmer going along just tossing out seed, willy-nilly, wherever he goes?
Anyone who has ever tried to plant anything with the intention of producing something, grain, flowers, or hay knows there are a few rules you need to follow in order to get a good crop. The ground has to be prepared. You need to loosen it up a little. Put some fertilizer down. Control the weeds, and make sure there is enough water to keep the plants healthy.
But this guy doesn’t seem to care about all of that. He’s just casting his seed wherever he goes, seemingly without a care in the world. And that’s the guy Jesus is giving kudos to. This is the guy Jesus is bringing to the forefront of our hearts and minds… Some careless, reckless farmer.
Even though there is some redeeming merit for this farmer, who does get some seed on good ground, the primary focus is on the seed that fell on less than perfect ground. And though this seed grew and yielded a crop, Jesus spends most of the parable on the other places where the seed was sown. Places that seemed very incompatible to the growth and possibility of the seed to produce a good crop.
We are all very well aware what happens when farmers plant their crops in good ground. It’s pretty predictable. The seeds sprout, and begin to grow. With a little water, fertilizer and sunshine, the plants continue to grow, flower, pollinate and produce the desired crops. Crops are harvested and taken to market. A wonderful yield. A yield, as the text tells us, of thirty fold, sixty, and even a hundred fold, if not more!
But Jesus is not focused on the good ground and the great harvest. He is telling us about the seed on the road, the seed in the rocky, thorny, inhospitable places where it just isn’t fit to grow. Places where it seems like an absolute waste to even think about sowing seeds.
He is not even telling us about being a farmer. For the seed He is talking about, isn’t wheat, or corn, or barley, or even sunflowers. The seed Jesus is speaking of is the Word of God. The Word of God, that encompasses how we treat people, how we encourage them, how we comfort them, how we reach out to them with the love, and grace, and goodness of the Lord.
The seed Jesus is speaking of, is the very seed someone sowed into our hearts not so very long ago. Maybe it was a word. Maybe they came by to see us during a difficult time. Maybe they helped us out of an impossible situation. Perhaps it was someone who was just there, listening, and caring. Maybe it was sharing a passage of Scripture which touched our hearts at a very opportune time. The seed is the Word of God in word and deed, or action.
And this sower Jesus is speaking of, the one who is so recklessly sowing seed on a road, in the rocks, and in the weeds, and in the thorns, well, that person could be any one of us here today. For the meaning of the sower in this passage is ‘one who sows seed, or plants, or according to Vines Bible Dictionary, one who ministers. And, Vines also tells us that to minister, is to serve.
What are the two greatest commandments? To love the Lord and to love your neighbor. And how do we express love for our neighbors and one another? Through our actions, through service to one another. By sharing the word and love of God with each other freely and unselfishly. For it is written in Matthew 10:8, ‘Freely you have received, freely give.’
We are called to freely give. To freely sow. To freely sow the Word of God wherever we are. Jesus talks about sowing seed on the road, on the rocks, in the weeds and thistles. To sow seed in what looks like very unproductive areas, where nothing will ever grow or produce.
If that was the case, then we would not have had such great Christian people as Mother Teresa, D.L. Moody, or Billy Graham. If someone would have said they were not going to plant the seed of God in some prison cell, we would not have Charles Colson. Let me ask this, where would you be today, if someone would have sown the seed of God into your hearts, wherever you were at the time?
I have a pretty good idea where I would be, if someone would have said they were not going to waste their good seed on some bum like me. But, they recklessly cast and sowed the seed of God to an alcoholic on his way to God only knows where. I am thankful, humble and blessed that someone dared to recklessly sow God’s seed into my heart.
I call on you here today, to be as reckless as the farmer in this parable. To freely cast the seed of God wherever you are. To show the love and grace and goodness of God to people of every walk of life, even to those who look like a walking thistle patch. I call on you – to recklessly sow the Word of God in places and with people whom you may never expect to grow or produce. Even in places which seem to be barren and dead. Sow!
The parable of the sower is a parable of the people of God. We are to sow the seeds of love, freedom, justice, peace, healing, and comfort and support as freely as we have received them. We are not responsible for the results. That is between the receiver and the Holy Spirit. What we are called to do – is sow. To recklessly sow, the Word of God.
Who knows what the harvest may be. Who knows what may become of someone whom you sowed the Word of God into.
In Jesus Name I pray we all be reckless sowers’ of the Word. Amen