May 9 - The Sower, Pt. 1

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Matthew 13:1-9

That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”

I have to tell you, there is nothing funnier than participating in a seminary class while studying this passage and listening as they talk about how alien the agricultural world of Jesus’ time is to us today. Wait. What?

While our contemporary farmers don’t hand sow their seed and technology allows them to plant well, anyone who lives in and around farmland knows about the tenuous grasp we have on the elements and their effect on crops.  Gardeners understand weeds and thorns and the importance of keeping the ground healthy for even small plots of land.  This world may be alien to those who live in the world of academia and those who spend their days and nights in cities, but for a good portion of society yet today, agriculture still is a prevalent part of their lives.

There is nothing I love more than watching the growing season in Iowa. I watched the drought destroy fields last year and prayed every day that rain would bring relief. This year, I wonder when the fields will be dry enough for them to even begin planting.  Our connection to the land remains very important.

It is important to understand how best to plant in order to have the greatest yield.  Planting so that wildlife and birds can eat the seed before it sprouts is useless; planting in rocky soil may seem productive, but with no roots, the crop will quickly die; planting with no concern for weeds will destroy a healthy crop. But, planting in good soil and caring for the crops will yield great things.

Jesus taught in parables … he taught in metaphors so that people would understand more than just his words, but comprehend the deeper message. There is more to this story.