Summary: Is the gospel really getting rooted into your heart, or is it being choked and killed through neglect and the cares of life?
By Pastor Jim May
How many of you have a green thumb? I can’t make that claim. It seems that I have a hard time making anything grow the way that it should. Last spring I decided to plant a small garden. I don’t have a tractor or a tiller so I had to break up the ground with a shovel. My neighbor loaned me a tiller but the ground was so hard that the little tiller just bounced on the top so I still had to break it up with a shovel before I could till it.
After I finished tilling, the garden looked like it was lower than the ground around it so I went down and bought a truckload of topsoil to add to it, then tilled all of it together. After all that I finally formed several short rows with a hoe. It was a fine looking garden and I was proud of its appearance.
Then I started planting. In this little garden space, that measured about 12’ by 10’, I had 5 small rows. There was pretty good variety of 3 types of tomato plants, watermelon, squash, 2 types of cucumbers, two types of pepper plants and a half-row of sunflowers for my grandson. I planted the seeds, and the seedling plants; watered them nearly every day and prepared myself for the great harvest.
We did manage to get a few squash, there were plenty of tomato and a fair amount of cucumbers, but the harvest wasn’t nearly what I had hoped for.
I wondered why some of the plants didn’t produce? Why was it taking so long for some to grow? Then things began to grow that I didn’t recognize. Then I discovered what had happened.
My daughter thought that the rows were empty so she came in behind me and planted on top of what I had planted. Cucumber seeds, watermelon seeds and squash were all together. Pepper plants by the handful sprang up where cucumbers were supposed to be. And to top it all off, most of the topsoil washed down into the middles leaving the plants to grow in a row that was mostly a mulch of tree bark and wood particles.
I was blessed to get what I was able to get because the whole garden was in a state of confusion. The squash thought it was supposed to produce watermelon and the peppers were so thick that they were fighting for space and nutrients to grow. The only things that grew like they should were the sunflowers. They took over the garden and grew to be about 6 to 8 feet tall, casting a shadow over the other plants so that they couldn’t even get enough light at times.
Does that tell you about my green thumb? It isn’t green. It’s more of a deep brown shade because I am not much of a gardener. Even fake plants are in trouble with me. I just don’t have the time or the desire to be a real farmer.
I was thinking about all that this morning when I ran across the passage in the Book of Luke where Jesus tells the Parable of the Sower.
Luke 8:5-8, "A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it. And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it. And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear."
Some of you may be thinking that you already know where this message is going and you may be right. But it never hurts for us to look again at the lessons that Jesus taught. The Word of God is a living word and it can still speak to us right now.
In this parable it is easy to identify whom the “Sower” is. The Sower is God. He is the one who by His own mercy created the seed within us that desires to know Him. Jesus Christ went to the cross and died, then rose again, that we may have the gospel, the good news that we can be cleansed by the blood of Christ. The Holy Ghost leads us into all truth and helps the seed of the gospel to grow in our hearts until it produces faith that grows into a great life for Christ that produces fruit for the Kingdom of God.
We can look at this parable this morning and we will all see ourselves, and identify with something that is said about the seed and how it grows.