The parable of the sower is one of the many stories Jesus tells to the crowds during his time here on Earth. Thanks to some insights from elder Bruce’s sermon the morning before I’m writing this, I’ve learned a lot from this half a chapter in Matthew. Let’s read the parable, shall we?
“And he told them many things in parables, saying: ‘A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, 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 among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear.'” – Matthew 13:3-9
Many of us would call this the parable of the soil. It’s interesting that Jesus actually describes it a few verses later as the parable of the sower. It seems the more important lesson was not about where the seed landed, but who cast it.
Notice what the sower does: he casts seed. That seems pretty obvious, right? But notice what he’s not doing. Nowadays farming is a lot more precise than it used to be. Our machines till the field and plant each seed specifically where it needs to go a certain distance from the last one, so as to make as efficient use of the seed as possible. That’s not how it has been for most of our history.
Usually, a sower would go out and cast seed all around the field, then return and plow it into the ground. Wherever the seed landed it landed, and it was up to the wind to determine its ultimate destination. The sower in this parable doesn’t plant each seed meticulously, choosing prime spots and pre-plowing the ground to ensure it’s survival. No, he casts the seed throughout the entire field, and even a little onto the pathway beside it.
In this story, the seed represents our story. As believers, it’s our testimony to others of Christ’s life-changing power. It’s all our experiences and hardships that brought us to where we are today. In the book of John, Jesus gives a blind man sight. The Pharisees are displeased with this blatant miracle. Looking for a way to blame Christ, they question this man. They ask him whether the man who healed him was a sinner. Having just seen Jesus for the first time, he replies quite bluntly:
“He replied, ‘Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!'” – John 9:25
He didn’t know much, but he told everyone he met what he did know. He was blind, now he’s not. He shared his story with everyone, hardhearted Pharisees to awestruck passerby.
Like the sower or the once-blind man in our story, we don’t only tell a few specific people our story. No, we tell it to all who will listen in hopes of spreading God’s light. Few will actually accept this message and believe as a result, but it’s not our job to worry about that. That’s God’s job. We just cast the seed, and He blows it where He wills.
This will take a lot of effort. We will spend years pouring into someone, delighted at their progress and seeming spiritual maturity, only to see them go off the deep end. It can be disappointing and quite discouraging, but we’re not the ones that choose who will hear the story. We need to simply be available to talk to whoever we come across.
Only telling the put-together or those that you know isn’t what you’re told to do. We’re not supposed to only cast seed where the ground looks good to us. Like I said, that’s God’s job. We need to go to the broken, the hardhearted, the desperate, the screwed up, the sinners.
You will never look in the eyes of someone Jesus didn’t die for.
He desires every one of them to know Him, and we are His sowers. We may be the closest thing to Jesus someone will ever meet. We may be the only Bible someone will ever read. Let’s scatter our seed on the rocks, the roads, the thorns, and the good soil and trust our God to grow it when He wills.