That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. 2 Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. 3 Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.”
How I would grow a garden…
I don’t know much about gardening, but I really admire people who can make beautiful flowers or delicious vegetables grow. I’ve always wanted to plant a garden, but I’ve never gotten around to it. Whenever I think of it, I think of all the work and effort it would take. Just imagining it makes me tired! One of these days I will give a it a try. When I do, I’ll tell you exactly how I would go about planting my beautiful garden:
First, I would use Google to research the basic steps of flower gardening. I would look up what flowers grow best here in Pennsylvania, and I would also research which ones were the heartiest. Second, I would go to the bookstore and buy several books on gardening. I would find something like Gardening for Dummies, and I would read those books from cover to cover. I would use a highlighter to mark important sections. Next, I would track down people I know with beautiful gardens. I would ask them how they do it, and I would write down their advice. Finally, I would take all the information that I learned I would attempt to plant my flower garden.
Christ’s gardening instructions…
Did you know that Jesus gives us gardening instructions? In Matthew 13:1-23, Jesus tells us a parable. Parables are precious stories that teach us something. In this week’s parable, Jesus teaches us about planting good seeds.
In this story, Jesus tells us about a farmer who doesn’t use Google or go to the library to do research before planting his seeds. He doesn’t try to find the most effective way. Instead, this gardener goes out and throws seeds EVERYWHERE! Instead of carefully planting seeds in good soil in neat little rows, this farmer goes outside and just starts throwing seeds all over the place.
It would be like if I tried to plant my flower garden by taking seeds and tossing them around the parsonage. Imagine it: I would just throw seeds everywhere! Seeds on the sidewalk, seeds on the parking lot, seeds in the backyard, seeds under the tree, seeds beside the garage, seeds in the street!
For this sower, it seems more about quantity of seeds than anything else. He just throws them everywhere!
What do you think would happen if I planted my garden this way? Do you think it would grow? Do you think I would get beautiful flowers or tasty tomatoes? If I heard about someone gardening this way, I would say that they were wasting seeds. Why bother throwing seeds where they will get scorched by the sun, eaten by birds, or choked out by weeds?
The Parable of the Sower
But here is why the parables of Jesus are precious—no matter how many times we hear them, they teach us something new about the world around us.
In this story, Jesus tells us that yes—some of the seeds failed to grow. Some were eaten by birds or choked out by weeds. Others took root but were quickly scorched by the sun. But the seeds that did grow blossomed and took root, they were more fruitful than anyone could have guessed. They were thirty times fruitful, sixty times fruitful, a hundred times fruitful!
This is the part of the story that doesn’t make any sense. This is the part of the story that you wouldn’t expect. It defies all logic:
Essentially, the sower goes outside, throws seeds everywhere—and instead of ending up with nothing, he ends up with bushels of tomatoes, tons of zucchini, and countless bouquets of flowers.
In this story, the Sower is Jesus planting the word of God. Remember—the Father and Jesus are One. Why would God waste God’s time on seeds that no one expects to grow? Because when it comes to God’s love, the only thing we know for sure is that we need to expect the unexpected.
The Word of God turns the world upside down. The first shall be last, and the last shall be first. A baby in manger becomes the Savior for all Creation. This parable encourages all of us to go out and throw seeds of faith around everywhere. Although the world feels scary and unsettling right now, I would like to encourage you to keep sowing seeds of faith everywhere and anywhere. You never know what will take root.
This day, I’m encouraged by the Parable of the Sower. May we all plant our roots deep. May we sink them into the soil of Christ. May we bloom where you are planted, and continue to sow hope and love wherever we walk.
Until Next Time,
This post is part of the series, “His Encouragement: Thursday Thoughts to Strengthen Your Soul.”
Now, it’s your turn! What Scripture verse is inspiring you this week? Let me know in the comments below! I’m excited to join with a group of blogging friends in order to offer you a weekly devotional which will be posted every Thursday.
Please be sure to check out the other great bloggers involved in the His Encouragement weekly series!
Andi @ Radiant Light
Leslie @ Words of Hope
Claudia @ By Claudia Moser