The Seed, the Soil, and the Sower

Praying handsA couple of Sundays ago my mother, Mary Collins, was responsible for the community worship service out at the federal reservoir near Council Grove. She put the following devotion together using multiple sources. I wanted to share it with you. It’s based on Matthew 13.1-9, 18-23 and she titled it “The Seed, the Soil, and the Sower.”

“There are two parts in the scripture that we just heard.  In the first part, Matthew 13: 1-9, commonly known as “The Parable of the Sower”,  Jesus is at the lakeshore teaching to a large crowd from a boat.  In the second part, verses 18-23, Jesus is interpreting to his disciples what the Parable of the Sower means.

After reading the first nine verses, most of us have probably asked ourselves “what kind of soil am I?”  Are we the beaten path where the seed falls and is eaten by the birds – not having an opportunity to grow?  Or are we the rocky soil where the seeds fall and sprout quickly but wilt and die under the hot sun because they don’t have deep roots.  Or are we like the soil infested with thorns and weeds that choke out the life of the seeds that try to sprout.   I am confidant that we all hope to be the good, fertile soil where the seeds can grow and produce a wonderful crop.

If we are honest with ourselves we will probably recognize that we are a little bit of all the soil types that Jesus used in his parable.  We have known the beaten path of life.  We have stumbled through rocky patches.  We have been scratched and cut by thorns of life.  And we have planted our roots deep in the sacred soil of God’s Word that feeds and encourages us to grow and become a bountiful harvest.

This parable challenges us to be self-reflective and to be willing to embrace the good news and to grow as followers of God. But it goes deeper than that. I don’t believe this parable is just about what kind of soil we are and how we receive the ‘seed’.

In his explanation to his disciples of what this parable meant, Jesus referred to it as the “Parable of the Sower” and the Sower refers to God who sows the seeds of the Good News everywhere – not just on fertile soil, but on hard, beaten paths; in among the rocks; and where there are weeds and thorns.  He does not discriminate as to where He sows.  He is abundantly generous – sowing seeds with equal toil and hope. ‘There is no soil left unsown.  No ground is declared undeserving of the Sower’s seeds.’*  This parable is not only about the quality of the soil – it’s about the generosity of God, the divine sower.  We may try to determine what kind of soil we are.  God simply wants to sow His life into ours.  With God, no life, no person, no soil is left unsown.

The Parable of the Sower is not just about how receptive we are to God’s Word – it is also about God’s faithfulness to us.  God does not give up on us.  He will keep casting seed our way until we are ready and able to receive it.  Because of His faithfulness to us, our lives have been and will continue to be sown with God’s seeds – may we grow abundantly in His love, mercy, and grace.”

*Michael Marsh, “It’s About God, Not the Dirt.”