The Parable of the Sower

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In this passage, beginning at Luke 8:11, Luke gives us the explanation for the the parable of the Sower. It is one of the most stunning of the parables for in it we see an unnerving truth. Jesus uses a very powerful metaphor here of the seed. The “seed” is God’s word, which came into the world for all people. It was made available to all without distinction. A seed implies beginnings, but also fullness. Within the seed is everything that will eventually come to fruition. It is all there. The fruit is in the seed. This “seed” is the word of God that has been sown within us. The explanation of this parable is meant to trouble us. It is meant to wake us up. How have we received it?

Someone once said that you can tell a person’s faith by watching what they do, how they spend their money, and what they dedicate their time to each day. As the parable says, some are like the path that the seed falls on. They hear the word of God, but because the devil comes into them and turns their hearts away from it, so the word cannot take root in them and they cannot be saved. There are others who have heard the word of God and received it with joy at first, but their interior life is shallow, like rocky ground. They have no depth, no real substance in their lives, internally or externally. They have no convictions about anything. Sadly, they come to feel that the word of God requires too much of them, much more than they are willing to give. Because of this, they have insufficient “soil” for the seed to take root, so it dies.

Others are those who hear the word, and are attracted to it. They want to believe, but worldly cares and concerns, the desire for riches, and the seemingly attractive perceived pleasures of life overwhelm them. As a result, though the seed takes root in them at first, it is eventually choked out and is overwhelmed by those worldly concerns and the fruit of the word is unable to reach its maturity. But Jesus, the Word of God, teaches us by example that the Word of God is about sacrificial, willing, humble submission to the will of God. “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me” (Matthew 19:21). Jesus is teaching us to let go of worldly concerns. The fruit of the word of God cannot come to maturity in a faith environment choked with the thorns of worldly concerns.

On the other hand, those who are of good, deep, rich soil, hear the word and hold on to it with humble, good, and honest hearts. They understand that God is the primum bonum, the highest good, that all else is as nothing in comparison. They give their all to the word of God. They bend their wills to his. They do so with humility and with patience. They are not choked by the thorns of worldly pleasures. Rather, the seed takes deep roots in them and they bear the fruit of the word of God within their hearts and offer it to others freely in their daily lives.

Lord, help us to till the soil of our souls into rich, deep soil, so that your word can sink its roots deep into our souls, and it can be brought to fruition in our thoughts, words and deeds in our daily lives. We ask this in your name, Jesus. Amen!

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