“Behold, a sower went forth to sow.” Matthew 13:3
Jesus walked down the rocky hillside to the sea below. A throng of people followed eager to hear what the teacher would say. Would he tell them a new story? Heal the sick? Call out the Pharisees? No matter they all wanted to hear him.
He begins, “Behold, a sower went forth to sow.”
We don’t know much about the sower, the one planting the seeds. He seems a bit careless – losing seed along the way, some among rocks, and others in the thorns. Any good farmer knows if you want the best crop, the ground needs cleared of rocks and weeds. And the hard ground needs plowed. Otherwise planting reaps little to no harvest.
If I had been this farmer, I would have felt discouraged, maybe even tempted to quit. I know how disappointing it is to work in a garden only to have the racoons and deer eat it. That’s when I need to hear Paul’s words to the Galatians in chapter 6, verse 9 –
“And let us not be weary in well doing:
for in due season we shall reap,
if we faint not.”
We, who are followers of Christ are called to be sowers of the word of God.
“For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord …
Go ye into all the world,
and preach the gospel to every creature.”
2 Corinthians 4:5; Mark 16:15
One plants the seeds, another waters them, remembering it is God who brings about the harvest. Keep in mind, not all seeds will yield a crop.
Lack of crop may come through careless planting – not preparing another to receive the seed of the Gospel.
- The ground may not have been broken up – a heart hardened by circumstances beyond their control takes time, friendship, and love to prepare it to receive God’s word.
- Or it may have rocks of misunderstanding from false religions and the world’s philosophies needing removed by hearing the truth in love.
- Or the weeds of worry may choke out hope of anything better, requiring time invested in deeper teaching of the word and a faithful friend.
Hosea chapter 10 verse 12, explains how to prepare the heart for planting the word.
“Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy;
break up your fallow (hard) ground:
for it is time to seek the LORD,
till he come and rain righteousness upon you.”
Weeds sown in the heart are no different than those planted in our gardens. It takes time and diligence to overcome. But a harvest is promised through seeking the Lord till he comes and rains righteousness upon us – upon the seed of his word.
“For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth:
it shall not return unto me void,
but it shall accomplish that which I please,
and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree,
and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree:
and it shall be to the LORD for a name,
for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”
One final word of encouragement to all you farmers of the word.
“Therefore, my beloved brethren,
be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord,
forasmuch as ye now that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”
1 Corinthians 15:58
What seed are you planting? It determines the fruit you will harvest. More on that next time.