- And Jesus told them many things in parables, saying: “Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Let anyone with ears listen!” (Matthew 13:1-9)
In this parable, Jesus is talking to Galilean farmers who knew the practices and experiences of farming in the Galilee. They know about regularly sowing a lot of seed and not getting much from it; it is discouraging to see sprouts break through the soil and then watch them die.
Although Jesus appears to be talking about seeds in this parable, He is really talking about bringing people to the Kingdom of God. Jesus compared the spreading of the Gospel to a sower going out and spreading seed. Some of it falls upon hard ground and doesn’t take root. Some of it falls on shallow ground, and although it initially sprouts, it later dies. But some seed falls upon good rich fertile soil and grows into a harvest.
We need to understand that the sower is God, the seed is the spreading of the Gospel, and the various types of soil represent us—
- you and me.
But this parable is not really about the sower or the seed. A seed, no matter where planted, can grow and mature and produce a harvest. It is not the seed that determines how it will or will not grow.
This is a parable about different types of soil, or the responses of different types of people have to the hearing of the Gospel (the seed) to join the Kingdom of God (the harvest).
We can all be different types of soil as we go through life.
We can be:
I. HARD SOIL
- Some of us are like soil that had become packed down under the feet of men, so hard that it would take a jackhammer to break through. Soil so hard that seed could never take root. Any seeds sown on hard soil are eaten by the birds that come along.
It is easy to become hardened in life. It is easy to become hardened when you watch the nightly 6:00 news: we see bombings and murders, car crashes, man doing horrendous things to other men. We can become desensitized to the inhumanity so that we become hard-crusted, just like the soil in this parable.
And the seed of the Gospel cannot take root in the hardened heart.
We can be:
II. WEEDY AND ROCKY SOIL
- Weedy soil is choked with weeds, and briars and thorns and rocks. You can hardly see the soil for all the rocks and things we consider weeds. These are the distractions in our lives that keep us from looking to the Kingdom of God.
We have lots of distractions or ‘weeds’ in our lives: finances that either makes us think we are better than the rest of the world or poverty, which makes us feel we are not as good as others. We are so busy ‘doing’ our lives or so worried about our lives that we can’t enjoy our lives. We have lots of things that we stumble over just trying to make it through the day. We don’t have time for reflection and prayer; we don’t take time to pray or thank God for our blessings. Even if we think to water and tend the seed, because of everything else competing for sun and food and water, the seed of the Gospel doesn’t have a chance.
So the seed of the Gospel may sprout, but withers and dies because of lack of care and attention.
But more importantly, we can be:
III. FERTILE SOIL
- Jesus said there was some seeds fall on fertile soil. He says that no matter how much seed is sown, there is going to be some that finds fertile soil and grows and produce a harvest. . . in fact, a harvest 100 times more than was planted.
Think about a single kernel of corn: when planted in fertile ground and tended with care, that single corn seed will produce one corn stalk. Each stalk then will produce one ear of corn. The average ear of corn has 250 kernels, so that a single kernel of corn, under the right conditions will yield a 250% return on investment.
When good seed falls on good soil in our hearts, wondrous things can happen. All it takes is a tiny seed of Gospel. . . and a soil that will nurture the seed.
It only takes one little seed to grow!
We are the soil. We can decide if we are going to be hard, weedy and rocky or fertile. We can decide that we want the Kingdom of God; that we are willing to accept and nurture the ‘seed’ that will grow in us when we welcome God and Jesus into our lives.
Or we can be hard, or weedy or rocky, and not enjoy the love and fellowship of the Kingdom of God.
It is up to each one of us to make that decision.
What kind of soil are you going to be?
Will you be part of the harvest in the Kingdom of God?