In large part, my focus over the last few months, as it relates to our spiritual growth, was to look at the letters written to congregations and individuals shortly after the church was started. Although we can glean so much from those writings, I think it would be important to look in the gospels at the teachings of Jesus during His ministry on earth. One of the ways Jesus often taught was through parables and one of my favorites is The Parable of the Sower found in the three Synoptic Gospels (Matthew 13:1-23, Mark 4:1-20, Luke 8:4-15). These three letters are called “synoptic gospels” because they include many of the same stories in similar sequence and wording. For today, our focus will be on Luke’s account of the parable of the sower.
A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell… (Luke 8:5)
Although it is not the intent for me to focus on the sower, I would like to note one thing which I believe is important for us to grasp. The sower scattered the seed without caution to what type of soil it would land upon. Seems almost counter intuitive doesn’t it. The sower’s responsibility is to sow! I am humbled by what Paul writes in 1st Corinthians 3:7, “So then neither he who plants (i.e., sower) is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.” God is in the business of working on the hearts (i.e., minds) of mankind, our task is to scatter that seed, so others can choose whether to “receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:22). For us today, I want us to see what Jesus says can hinder that very thing from happening.
There were four areas of which the sower scattered the seed. First, it was the “wayside; and it was trampled down, and the birds of the air devoured it” (v5). Jesus describes that in v12 when he says the “devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts.” Second, is the rocky area where it “withered away because it lacked moisture” (v6). Jesus describes this in v13 as one “who believed for a while and in time of temptation fall away.” Then, there is the thorny area, where the seed was “choked” (v7). What could choke God’s word? Jesus provides us insight in v14, saying it is the “cares, riches, and pleasures of life” which result in not bringing “fruit to maturity.” The last one, is where we want our hearts to be in our walks with Christ. It is the “good soil” (v8), or as Jesus would explain, those “having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience” (v15).
There are so many things we can seek to learn from this parable, all of which can help us as we journey homeward. The thing that catches my attention is the conditions of the soil. Each played a role in how the hearer made use of the seed, which is the word of God. I realized something as I thought about this; that is, the condition of the soil can change. My prayer is simple: as a sower, may I seek to cast the wonderful seed of God on the soils of men’s hearts without prejudice. Also, may I be reminded that although we are sowers, we too have soil that needs attention daily, so we can help to further His work. God, strengthen us this day to be all that You desire us to be. Amen.