Summary: God is a generous seed sower.
Lectionary 15 A
Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23
This morning our Gospel reading presents to us one of the better known parables of Jesus that we have come to know as “The Parable of the Sower.”
Now in Matthews Gospel, “The Parable of the Sower” actually stands as the first parable in a whole series of parables that Jesus used to explain what the kingdom of heaven is like.
And because the parable leads off His teaching about the kingdom of heaven this section is important because it provides for us a KEY to understanding all the parables that Jesus told to His disciples.
And so it is no wonder that this parable is one of the few parables in all the gospels that provides for us an explanation of its true meaning.
For you see, as Jesus sat in a boat, and taught the huge crowd that had gathered to hear Him speak, Jesus wanted them to understand the message that He was giving to them.
And Jesus wanted to explain to them why some people hear the “Good News” and why some people do not hear the “Good News.”
Using images that the crowd could easily understand Jesus said to them: “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 on good soil and brought forth grain, some hundred, some sixty, some thirty. Let everyone with ears listen!”
Now you need to know that everyone in the crowd that day would have been quite familiar with the concept of a sower going out to sow. Why, because everyone in the crowd would have witnessed, at one time or another, a farmer out in his field sowing his seed.
And everyone in the crowd would have known that a farmer seeded his field by tossing out seed in every direction and the people would have known that it was impossible for the farmer to control what type of soil his seed would land on.
So everything that Jesus said about sowing would have been old news to them, except for the part about the harvest. For you see normally a farmer would expect to receive a seven or an eight fold harvest so the news about a hundred fold, or a sixty fold, or even a thirty fold harvest would have been shocking news to them because it would have been unheard of with the farming practices available in the biblical world.
And that is where the teaching about the kingdom of heaven comes in for to sow with this sort of hope and vision is to have the perspective of the kingdom of God.
And the remarkable thing about it is that everyone is invited to participate so that the grace of God can grow in us and send us out to be good sowers and share the grace that we have received and rejoice in “God’s Amazing Harvest.”
And we do not need to worry about all the things that might get in the way like the rocks or the birds or the thin soil for we are called to simply scatter the seed of God’s Word and trust that the rest will be taken care of by our Father in Heaven.
Farming with Jesus means being reckless in scattering the seed, farming with Jesus means sharing the seeds of God’s Word even when we do not have high hopes for a positive response. It means ministering to people who may appear to have little potential. It means being faithful in scattering the seed and leaving the results up to God.
Brothers and sisters in Christ: we all have fields to walk and seeds to sow because that is what we are called to do. And our parable today is meant to lighten our step and extend our reach as we scatter the “Good News” of Jesus Christ because of the wonderful promise of an abundant harvest.
And because we are assured of a remarkable harvest we can leave this sanctuary this morning and wave at the birds and smile at the weeds because they are not our concern.
If we are open to the kingdom of God the seed of God’s Word will take root in us and produce abundantly. Jesus said: “But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the Word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundred fold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.