The Parable of the Sower
Hear then the parable of the sower. (Matthew 13:18)
Such a great parable - the parable of the sower. You know it's a good one when it appears in the three "synoptic" gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke. And not only does it appear in each of these gospels, but Jesus explains the parable in each of these gospels. Repetition matters. Our ears ought to perk up.
A sower went out to sow. Jesus doesn't say what the sower was sowing, just seed of some sort. And this was not our image of neatly tilled fields. This sower didn't have a GPS guided tractor pulling a 60 row computerized corn planter. They likely had a satchel of seed across their shoulder which they reached their hand into and tossed seed as they walked along a field.
While I am sure they did their best to scatter seed where it had the best chance to produce, it still lacked our modern day precision. Therefore, some landed on good soil and yielded a robust harvest. But some landed on hard-packed paths, and some landed among the thorns, and some landed on rocky ground, and these seeds failed to produce.
Jesus explains this parable, saying the seed is "the word of the kingdom." It is the lessons and examples of Jesus' life that teach us what it means to live in the beloved community of God which Jesus has brought near.
Sometimes we hear this "word" but we just don't get it. It doesn't sink it. That's the seed that falls on the path.
Sometimes we hear this "word" and it sounds great and it fills us with joy, but it's more superficial. It's more for show. It doesn't take root in our life. That is the seed that falls among the rocks.
Sometimes we hear this "word" but we are so deeply influenced by money, fame, and power, that the gospel gets choked off and quickly abandoned for the weeds. That is the seed that falls among the thorns.
And sometimes, sometimes, we let the life and lessons of Jesus Christ guide our thoughts and we act in the world with love, and kindness, and compassion. And these seeds bear fruit, and add to the harvest of God's beloved community.
Hear then the parable of the sower and use to reflect on our response to the good news of Jesus Christ.