Posted by on Jul 13, 2020 in Pastor's Blog | Comments Off on What are we Planting?

Our gospel lesson for this 6th Sunday after Pentecost is from Matthew 13: 1-9, 18-23. This section in Matthew is “The Parable of the Sower”. I know we have all read it many times, but I have found that it has real meaning for us today.

Dear Lord…Open our minds and hearts to hear your words so that we can understand what you are saying to us. We want to understand our words to minister to your people and bring your words of love and saving grace to all for expanding your kingdom here on earth. We are your followers, dear Lord.

We will be discussing the parables that Matthew has written down in his gospel. In fact, he has put down seven parables in Chapter 13. What is interesting about this parable is that Jesus explains His use of parables and he explains the parable.

Jesus was sitting by the sea and talking with the many people who had followed Him along with the disciples. He started to tell the crowd about the sower of seeds first. We wonder why he used the concept of seeds. Well, many of the crowd either had planted a field or planted a garden for their food. They, like we, understand the need for seeds to be planted properly for growth and production of the product they represent.

Jesus goes on to tell about 4 types of plantings. One type was that some seeds fell on the ground. You say, “Well, that happens even in the way we plant.” What Jesus was talking about was that some seeds probably fell out of the pouch the farmer carried with him in the field. The seeds were randomly distributed due to this happening. Yes…some of the birds and animals would pick them up for their food…and the seed would not produce the product it had been planted for.
Yes…the birds and animals were fed.

The second type of planting Jesus described was that the seed was planted on the roadside…or on rocky ground. We know that the seeds falling on rocks would not get roots deep enough in that situation to be able to really produce well. With no foundation…they grew quickly and couldn’t get roots deep enough to withstand the warmth of the sun, rain, wind, etc.

The third planting Jesus talks about is the seeds that were sown in ground that was thick with thorns. Thorns often grow where other plants cannot and take over the area, choking out the seeds that cannot get rooted and grounded.

The fourth planting is the type of planting we all like to see, that of seeds falling on good ground. All in a nice row, with thorns and weeds being eliminated from the area. These seeds, with the rain and sun, thrived and produced an abundant crop.

Now…we can understand most of what Jesus is describing here…as we have experienced it. However, this is a parable and in the next verses, the disciples are asking Jesus why he is speaking in parables.

They come right out and ask Jesus why he is speaking in parables. Jesus answers them by saying that the secrets of the kingdom have been given to them…and they will be given more secrets of the kingdom. In other words, they are willing to listen and take the words to heart for giving to other people. For those who choose to not listen…they are given no secrets.

I am also of the opinion that Jesus used parables for teaching the disciples. He not only is showing them how the Word they will preach will be listened to and taken to heart by their listeners, but they will also remember the “story” of the parable to explain some of the actions of the people they will be ministering to. He is asking them and the crowd to think about what was being said…exercise their mind and gradually grasp spiritual principles.

Yes…Jesus told the parables to present a story to the crowd for them to remember and think on. As the people remembered the parable and saw what was happening in their world, they, too, would understand what Jesus was saying and would possibly know how the word of God was taking root (or not) in their lives.

Then, Jesus goes on to explain the parable more in depth. He begins with the seed that was sowed by the road. The seed is the Kingdom of God and the sower is Jesus. The seed sown by the side of the road illustrates those who hear the word but do not understand and allow Satan to interfere and hinder their understanding.

The seed sown on rocky places illustrates a superficial person. This person hears the word and is happy to hear it, but after hearing it…the seed isn’t allowed to grow. The person is more interested in himself and having satisfaction and gratification from things around him. If faced with trials, this person doesn’t allow the seed to take root and when problems arise, he falls away.

The seed sown among the thorns, this represents someone who hears the word, but the cares and benefits of the world overcome his thinking. This person/seed is distracted by the material things of the world and its concerns…and the fruit is choked out and will not grow.

Finally, Jesus talks of the seeds on good soil. This person receives the word and understands the world and will produce a good crop. This seed bears fruit as the person continues to pray, listen, hear the word of God. The Old Testament did not realize that the kingdom would grow and produce fruit because of the people who listen to God’s word and took it to heart. It was planted deep in the heart of that person and would produce many other disciples through the words and deeds of the seed that flourished.

Also, as part of understanding this parable, we need to remember that the person’s heart and eyes are the center of emotion filled thought. A person’s mouth ears, tongue and lips are the location of expression. The arms, legs, hands and feet are the symbols for action. In other words, the whole person is the good seed…rooted, grounded and producing what God wants for His world.

How do you see yourself now in this parable? How do you see some of the news and information being thrown around? How do you “digest” some of that information? Some of it, quite honestly, lands on me like seed on the ground that will not “sink in” and produce anything. I want to have the seed of God grow in me. I do not want the seed of something not “of God” to grow and influence my life.

May we all be examples of the seed that is planted in the good soil….where all parts of our lives and body are producing the fruit God wants for his world. May we use our words and feet to help people who are confused and part of the crowd that were representative of the thorny ground or the rocky ground. May we speak the words of love and acceptance to God’s people.

God’s word (seed) has been planted in us. What are we planting?


July 2020


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