Psalm 119:33-40 using the New English Translation
Matthew 13:1-9 and 18-23
The Parable of the Sower
At 11 oclock there is an all age service based on the same scripture so there will no long words so I thought I’d put them all in now. No I’m not. But I am going to start at the end and work backwards.
You see I want to be good soil, don’t you? In Jesus’ interpretation for the disciples he is talking about people who take the word into their heart, into the centre of their being and live out their lives being “good soil”
Of course we all want to be “good soil” We want the word of God to take root in our hearts. It has been said that a person’s vision comes not from their position but from their passion. But I would go further and say that a person’s vision comes from the root of their passion rather than the might of their power.
What is your root? What is your passion?
Are we “good soil” all the way through, in every aspect of lives, are we always open to the word of God, are we always open to the nudging of the Spirit, in everything
You see it has also been said though that we are a mixture of all the soils in the parable. We have thorns and weeds, we have patches of rockiness and even the odd bit of concrete path in our good soil.
So I kind of see this parable not as something static but as a movie that changes, it is a story unfolding as our lives unfold.
Can our roots withhold the storms that batter our stalks? Can we remain with humility when things are going really well in our lives? When the most devastating thing happens can we remain anchored to Christ rather than building up barricades against him?
Going backwards then to the thorns and weeds. In Spring I go in the polytunnel and tidy up, remove all the weeds and plant my seeds, I water and tend to them but it seems like overnight they are covered in weeds and they are growing more abundantly than the vegetables. Can we see that in our lives? We want to be good soil but “good soil” takes work. We have to keep weeding it. And we do that by spending time with the Lord every day, reading the Bible, praying, listening to the Lord and spending time in fellowship. And we have to know our weeds and thorns, we need to know where our weaknesses are, as Jesus put it the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth. Wealth can be deceitful whether we have it or not. Since the downturn in the economy more and more people have been treated for gambling addiction. If we are wealthy we can worry about keeping it.
But there are other worries, we are told in the bible not to worry, we are preached at to not worry and yet we still do. We worry about the things we can’t change. So those worries grow like weeds choking the love of God, but we can share those worries with the one who loves us.
Later on in the polytunnel, the balance in the rate of growth changes, because of the weeding the weeds still come but they start at day one again but the veggies they grow on steadily. So the fruit outweighs the weeds. We are going to have weeds in our lives but if we keeping weeding and concentrate our gaze on Jesus they will be manageable.
The rocky ground, where roots find it hard to travel downward. What can we do to allow the roots grow? Or how do we get rid of the rocks? Anyone who has been stone picking knows, there is no end to it. There is so much broken shale around the fields of Kerry that hand picking is an ongoing task after each harvest that churns more up. In our on going journey with the Lord there are times of growth spurts. Like when we are first transformed into new creations we can get so caught up in our feelings that we forget to remain focused on Jesus. I heard this week of a church who would have say 700 at the service but barely 20 would turn up for the deeper study. We need encouragement and sustainability and of course we are encouraged and sustained by Christ but also by each other. I have been reminded in recent weeks of the last time I went stone picking, it was in a field on the opposite hill, four families together picked the field in a day. When we come together we can share the load and help each other along the way. So we can help turn the rocky ground into fruitful ground.
And then we come to the path. That slab of concrete that’s not letting any word in. And the enemy ready to swoop down and steal away with seeds of love. But the sower doesn’t stop trying to sow those seeds.
Have you ever wondered about that? A farmer went out to sow his seed. And he wasn’t stingy, he was extravagant, he abundantly scattered the seed. The seed is the message of the kingdom of God. The sower doesn’t worry about where the seed lands because each seed can chip away at a hardened heart, can strengthen someone’s faltering faith, can remind people of Jesus and how he humbled himself to come among us. And if we are good soil – can encourage us, can keep us in the mode of readiness for when Jesus comes again.
As Christians we are called to spread the good news, to be sowers of the word. Wouldn’t it be great to be as extravagant and abundant as the farmer in the parable. To not worry about where we spread the good news. To continue to share the love of Jesus Christ everywhere we go, to whom ever we meet regardless of what we might think of them, knowing that there is grace enough for all of us, knowing that there is so much grace that it covers all things and all people. That giving God’s love is never wasted, never a waste of time, that sharing the love of Jesus is never ever a waste in any way.
Shall we try it? Not worrying? Not excluding anyone? Not trying to change anyone? There is no limit to the seeds we can plant, it’s not about the money, it’s not about the time, it’s not about who to invite.
The sower keeps scattering that seed, despite rejection, despite hardheartedness, despite whether we are good soil, or thorny weedy soil, despite what we think about each other, the seeds keep coming. Extravagant. Abundant. The lord continually pursues, continually plants, continually loves.
So no matter what kind of soil we are on any given day, God has made it possible to bear fruit. Keep sowing… keep encouraging one another to sow… sow in abundance… be extravagant —- sow in love.