Sunday, July 10, 2011
A Farmer Went Out To Sow His Seed (Matthew 13:3)
"Then he told them many things in parables" (Matthew 13:3)
The parable of the sower is a well known teaching of Jesus. Matthew says this was the first parable Jesus spoke. Fran Freder in his book, ‘Words made Flesh’, calls Jesus a ‘Word-Person’: “Jesus was nourished by words that came from the mouth of God. He was angered by the crooked words of hypocrites and moved by the pitiful words of the oppressed. He restored words to the mouths of the dumb. He used words that awed some and scared others. He taught with forceful words and died with words of surrender on his lips.”
Jesus always spoke in parables, riddles, proverbs, allegories or symbols, so that his audience could ponder, perceive, and produce a hundredfold! Today’s parable of the sower resonated with Palestinian peasants who knew how unproductive their soil was despite hard labour. Thus, many seeds would get wasted, stifled by thorns, trampled underfoot, scorched by the sun or rootless upon rocky ground. Unlike the others evangelists, Matthew emphasized on the stubbornness of the Jews in rejecting not only God’s words, but also God’s Word – Jesus.
The seed is not simply the Bible. It also represents the proclamation of the truths of Scripture. It is the word that is preached to us daily through priest, word-ministers, and other godly persons who are carriers of the Gospel of Christ. They are the ones through whom the seed is scattered and sown. The seed therefore is the ‘Word of the kingdom’ as it is preached. It is the preaching of the "Gospel" - of the good news of salvation. It is the spiritual food for the people of God.
In this parable there are two kinds of listeners. The first type is one who rejects the preaching. He is barely interested in it and hence bears no fruit. There is absolutely no change in his life by means of the preaching. This listener is represented by the three kinds of bad soil mentioned in the parable. But there is also the good listener. He is the one who receives the Word and bears fruit. You can say concerning him, "The preaching makes a difference in his life." He first understands it and then does what it says.
All of us live busy lives, with too many activities and obligations. Most of us are just happy being ‘Sunday Christians’. We readily spend time in front of the television set or computer, but are too lazy to spend less than half the time in prayer or meditating on God’s word. Let not the glamour and cares of this world choke us up. Our primary focus should be Christ. God created us for his glory, and our hearts will be restless until they rest in him alone.
If you have read this far, I truly believe that, you are the seed that has fallen on the good soil! Every step you take closer to God creates a conducive environment for the good seed to flourish. Every time you feed your mind with the word of God, whenever you come before him in prayer and thanksgiving, that seedling is strengthening it’s roots. When we gather as a community in Church, and when we reach out to those in need, we are watering the good seed sowed in our hearts. And soon our efforts will produce an abundant harvest.
"Lord, help me realise that my impossibilities are avenues of hope. I am assured that You hold my future in Your omniscient hand. Bless every godly effort I undertake to do."