Summary: “A farmer went out to plant his seed.” He didn’t go to school for 8 years. He didn’t go out to the field and smash every rock, pull every weed, plow up the path. He didn’t read “Planters Diary”, draw diagrams of the fields, agonize back and forth about
Get Started – The Parable of the Seed Among the Soils
Feb 15, 2009 Luke 8:1-15
We all love a good story. From our earliest bedtime memories of “Peter Rabbit”, “Goodnight Moon”, “The Tortoise and the Hare”, to our love of movies, to the simple way we share our lives through the re-telling of situations we find ourselves in, we all love a good story. I particularly loved to hear more of the stories of Eileen’s life, which we grieved and celebrated during yesterday’s funeral service. It is little wonder, then, that stories are one of the main ways that Jesus communicated. I’m particularly fortunate that today, when all of our children are staying in the service with us, we have one of the stories of Jesus to dive into.
A Beginning Story:
Before hearing Jesus’ story, let me tell you one first.
A boy was given $1000 for his tenth birthday from his grandparents. His first thoughts were of all the ways he might spend it… like the Lego Ultimate Collector’s Millennium Falcon™ Item #: 10179, with 5195 pieces, built completely to minifigure scale - minifigures can sit inside and man the controls!, only $679.99 (CAD), plus $34 shipping. But alas, the poor boy, his father insisted he save the money, so he took him to the bank.
“Aha!”, said the banker, “I have just the thing. Young man, you need to buy this mutual fund.” His dad leaned in, interested. “Hmm, yes son, this is the thing.”
“Ummm, what?” asked the boy.
“A ‘mutual fund’”, explained the banker, “is a very safe investment. Your $1000 will be scattered among four different sectors of the economy, and if you come back in six months I’ll show you how your $1000 has grown to be much, much more.”
The dad leaned over and signed the papers, and told his son he’d buy an ice-cream from McDonalds to celebrate.
Six months later they returned. “I’m sorry,” said the banker, “some parts of your mutual fund have performed rather poorly… This first sector was the American banking sector, and though it has been a solid performer in the past, many banks have been forced to close, and so your money is gone.”
“Where did it go?”, asked the poor innocent boy. “Well, probably to employee bonuses and executive salaries. But let’s continue on… The second sector we invested in was oil and gas, and initially we had strong returns, but then some ducks died on a tailings pond and the initial gains were stolen by the environmentalists campaigning against “dirty oil”. There is nothing left. The third sector was historically very safe, mortgages, and again we saw some good initial numbers. But alas, these also were wiped out by people buying more than they could afford, in a pursuit of riches and comforts.”
“Is there anything left?”, interrupted the nervous dad who was now almost wishing his son had a Lego Millennium Falcon.
The banker smiled. “Yes, I am pleased to inform you that the final sector we invested in was in micro-loans for the poor, so that they might start small businesses to support their family. Through this program, the recipients have escaped the poverty trap, provided for their families, repaid the debt with interest, and then we re-loaned the money to another needy entrepreneur. This investment has paid off more than 100 times, if we include the re-loaning and creation of more businesses.”
The boy smiled, and said, “Dad, today I’ll buy the ice-cream. But next time, can I ask grandpa for lego instead of cash?”
Jesus’ Story: Luke 8:4-15
My story is entirely fictitious. Honestly. But it loosely follows Jesus’:
4 One day Jesus told a story in the form of a parable to a large crowd that had gathered from many towns to hear him: 5 “A farmer went out to plant his seed. As he scattered it across his field, some seed fell on a footpath, where it was stepped on, and the birds ate it. 6 Other seed fell among rocks. It began to grow, but the plant soon wilted and died for lack of moisture. 7 Other seed fell among thorns that grew up with it and choked out the tender plants. 8 Still other seed fell on fertile soil. This seed grew and produced a crop that was a hundred times as much as had been planted!” When he had said this, he called out, “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”
9 His disciples asked him what this parable meant. 10 He replied, “You are permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of God. But I use parables to teach the others so that the Scriptures might be fulfilled:
‘When they look, they won’t really see.
When they hear, they won’t understand.’