Of Sowers and Soil (Matthew 8:14-34; Mark 4-5)

“Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed.” (Mark 4:3)

Sowing seed is an incredibly important role for a farmer.  If he wants to reap any kind of harvest, then he needs to sow some sort of seed – he can’t simply hope to reap a harvest in a field where no planting has taken place.  So he (or she) must sow diligently.  However, not all seed falls in a place that will enable it to grow into a healthy, mature plant.  Some of it may fall on a path, other of it may fall among thorns and some among shallow ground.  Regardless of where it lands, the same seed is sown by the farmer.

Jesus used this parable (famously known as “The Parable of the Sower”) to describe the Kingdom of God.  Perhaps, however, the parable would better be titled, “The Parable of Various Soils.”  After all, the parable is less about the sower and the seed than it is about the types of soil where the seed fell.  The farmer – the sower – faithfully sowed the same seed everywhere so that it might grow into a bountiful harvest.  What he didn’t do was sow special seed that perhaps would grow better in thorns, some seed that would somehow grow on a sidewalk, and some that would survive in shallow ground.  Only one seed was sown – and that represented the Word of God.

This parable is really for two groups of people: those who sow, and those who are soil.  For those who sow, it serves as a reminder that the Word of God doesn’t need extra help.  In other words, the job of a pastor or teacher is to sow the Word of God and nothing else.  Sowers can’t control how people respond to the seed, but they can be faithful in presenting it.  For those who are soil, you have a responsibility to be fertile soil.  You need to prepare your heart so that you’re ready to receive the Word of God when it is given.  What are some ways you can better prepare your heart to receive the sown Word of God?  It would be worth your while to spend some time thinking about that.

Lord, help me to be both a good sower and great soil.  Help me to faithfully sow the Your Word into others without adding anything extraneous to it.  Likewise, help me to be fertile soil that is ready to receive the Word that is sown into me – that a bountiful harvest may one day come.

About Seth

Seth is a pastor, author, and speaker who lives in Batesville, Indiana. He is married to Kari, and they have two daughters, Madelyn and Noelle.

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