Hear then the parable of the sower. The seed sown on the path is the one who hears the word of the kingdom without understanding it, and the evil one comes and steals away what was sown in his heart. The seed sown on rocky ground is the one who hears the word and receives it at once with joy. But he has no root and lasts only for a time. When some tribulation or persecution comes because of the word, he immediately falls away. The seed sown among thorns is the one who hears the word, but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word and it bears no fruit. But the seed sown on rich soil is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.” (Matthew 13:18-23)
We all know this parable and we all have heard many a sermon on its meaning. I have lost count how many times, over the last four decades, I have preached on it.
But today, I smiled when I realized that, there is a life’s lesson in this parable.
It’s about God’s abundant love for us. God sows that love. It’s what God does. It’s what God keeps on doing. God keeps throwing seeds, regardless of where the seed might land.
God is love, and love is generous, lavish, abundant, eager to share what is good. God will not withhold the Word from anyone.
God scatters the Good News of the Kingdom of God liberally, even in places where it is not likely to grow or bear fruit.
God throws the seed of the Kingdom everywhere! It goes out into all the world, to transform any who will accept it. You see, seed can only become fruitful when it stops being a seed.
And we all have been called to sow the seed of the gospel, and to bear the heartache and frustration when it falls on rocky, weed-infested ground.
Each of you have experienced the hard truths of this parable on some level.
Every parent whose words of loving concern have fallen on a teenager’s deaf ears knows hard-packed ground.
Everyone who has operated a business with integrity, only to find customers or clients go where there is a better deal, even if its only for a weekend.
Every person who has been overwhelmed with worry, or caught in the trap of loving money has experienced the chokehold of thorny weeds.
This parable reminds us that we are not alone in these struggles.
What this parable tells us about our life is this: We will never succeed in all of our projects and goals. We will never fulfill all of our hopes and dreams. We will never remain connected to all of the people who we love. Some of our hopes and dreams will not grow and will disappear as quickly as the seed that was eaten by the birds. Some of our projects and goals will start to grow, but then become scorched and wither away because of lack of root. Some of the people that we love will not love us in return.
But this parable also includes a harvest–a rich harvest. For all the seed that does not grow, there is other seed that produces a hundred, sixty, and thirty-fold.
Jesus is calling us to focus on the harvest. For all the goals, for all the relationships, for all the dreams that were never fulfilled, this parable calls us to remember all of those realities that did grow, that did bless us and sustain us still.
Instead of lamenting about all the things in our life that did not happen, this parable calls us to rejoice in the things that did happen—in the goals we were able to achieve, in the hopes that we were able to realize, in the relationships that still support us to this day. They are God’s gifts to us.
They are living examples of the abundance of his love. There might be many of our hopes and dreams that did not materialize, but the ones that did are enough to provide a bountiful harvest, a rich life.
How do you choose to live your life? What do you choose to see–a testimony to his abundant love for us or a story of the times the seed did not flourish? Only you can decide. Whichever you do, you will find that he keeps loving us.
Prayer of The Day
Lord Jesus, help me to guard the word you have planted in my heart that no doubt or temptation may keep me from believing and obeying you. May I be fruitful in your service and may I never fear to speak of you to others and to share with them the good news of the Gospel.
God’s word can only take root in a receptive heart which is docile and ready to hear what God has to say. One lesson is clear: the harvest is sure. While some seed will fall by the wayside and some fall on shallow ground and never come to maturity, and some be choked to death by the thorns; nonetheless a harvest will come. The seed that falls on good soil, on the heart that is receptive, will reap abundant fruit. Are you teachable and eager to learn God’s truth? And do you allow anything to keep you from submitting to God’s word with joy and trusting obedience?