I hope and pray that this letter finds you well this week. We are very fortunate in this country to have good seasonal weather which allows crops to grow, a good cycle for sowing, planting, nurturing, growing, reaping and harvesting. Generally it works very well for farmers, amateur growers and gardeners alike. In other countries this doesn’t work as well due to poverty and climate influences. Today we examine in the reading from Matthew 13: 1-9 and 18-23, a traditional parable which we all know so well, the parable of the sower. A parable is a mechanism which Jesus used in his teaching; it is a story with a meaning to help the hearer learn an important truth or concept. Another way to explain it would be an earthly story with a heavenly meaning.
The parable concerns a farmer who has gone out to sow seed on the land and as the farmer throws the seed, it lands in different places. Some lands on the path whereby it is soon eaten by birds. Some lands in amongst the stones where there is little soil so the plant grows but is soon scorched by the sun and dies. Some fells amidst thorn bushes and when the plant grows are choked and overwhelmed and also die. Finally some falls onto the soil and becomes a good crop and produces an excellent yield.
Later on in the chapter, after Jesus has answered various questions from the disciples about the purpose of parable, Jesus begins to explain the meaning behind the parable of the sower. The seed is the Word and Message of God, which falls on different surfaces in the parable, likewise the Word is responded to in different ways by those who hear it. Some hear and do not understand therefore ‘the message is snatched away by the evil one’ in other words the hearer does not understand and the things of the world take precedence in that person’s heart and mind and it gets forgotten. Others hear the message and receive it with joy but since they have no Christian foundation again the lasting impact of the message is not evident. Someone else hears the message but let the worries of the world and the allure of earthly treasures lure them away. Finally those who hear, understand and then put the message into practice will gain a lasting ‘good crop’ from it, the yielding will be massive and they will benefit from it thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown.
The message that we as recipients of the ‘seed’ or the Word and Message of God need to be like the fertile soil of the ground in order to produce a good crop. That means being without weeds, stones or thorns; and in practice that means being open to God through His Word, prayer, teaching and eager to learn like being part of a Discovery Group. As a Christian believer how would you describe your ‘soil quality’ good, medium or poor? Be sure today to turn to the good Gardener to ensure that you are always ready to receive the next batch of seeds to help you yield a good crop in the future.
May the Lord Jesus; the Good and Faithful Gardener, bless you, now and always,
Every blessing in His precious Service, Andrew.