In the Parable of the Sower, which can be found at Matthew 13:1-9 & 18-23, we read the very familiar story of a farmer who went out to plant seed in a field.
As we know, in the parable, the seeds represent the Word of God, God's message to the world, and the ground is those who receive it.
As the farmer scattered the seed far and wide, so this parable demonstrates that God intends his Word is to be taken out and to be available to all.
God, as our Heavenly Father, loves his children and wishes to give everyone the opportunity to come to Him; no one is to be excluded.
How that Word is received, however, is a matter of choice. (13: 9) “He who has ears, let him hear”.
The sad truth is that while many hear, not all listen with open ears. The message never reaches the heart. But just as God doesn't write people off, neither can His people, His Church.
As God's people, who hear his Word and have grown in it, we are to continue in sharing that Word. It is a command of Jesus.
We can see at the conclusion of Mark's account of the Gospel, Jesus said to his Disciples, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all Creation”. (Mark 16: 15)
We are called to continue God's work faithfully. Even though we may think there are little signs it is bearing fruit or making any difference.
We are called to be faithful in sharing God's message and His love, by our work and in our words. We share God’s message not just by what we say but also by our actions and by the way we live our lives.
Just as a farmer sows in anticipation of a harvest, so we must continue God’s work in anticipation that it will bear fruit.
Of course, when we see that our efforts bring no apparent results it can be demoralising. But still we are called to continue the groundwork; to continue with God's work in the World. We can only leave the outcome to God.
This is also a parable that reminds us to examine ourselves. While we may consider ourselves to be the ‘good ground’ there can be times when we can become unresponsive to God. We can become pre-occupied with our own interests.
We may choose not to listen to God or share our life with him. Weeds and thorns of doubt, fear or self-interest can sprout up, take hold and gradually squeeze God out of our life.
As we know, no matter how good soil may be, how productive and fruitful it is, its quality doesn't last forever. It needs to be fed, nourished, cultivated, watered and tended; and so do we. Regularly, we need to be built up and be open constantly to God's Word.
Faith is an ongoing condition which only survives and thrives on a continuing relationship with God. In the same way that good soil must be cultivated, fed and kept clear of weeds and stones, so we must cultivate our relationship with God.
We must be fed by God and always aware of anything that would distract ourselves from Him or divert us from His work.
We are to allow God to work in our lives. To be aware of what He may be asking us to do. To let the seed of the message He plants in us, take root.
So, today, let each one of us ask ourselves, “What type of ground do I represent?”
Am I still the 'Good Soil'; or through time, have stones and rocks appeared; weeds and thorns taken root and weakened faith? Has the indifference, apathy or rejection we may have experienced, hardened our heart?
Let us who have ears, always listen for God's word in our lives. Let us allow it to take root.
Let it feed us, let it nourish us and let it grow and flourish in us once again, so that we, in God’s work, may help bring about a rich crop.
Let us pray.
God of grace and love, as we think of the Parable of the Sower, we pray for all who sow seeds of Your kingdom in our world; a world that doesn’t always want to hear Your word, a world that doesn’t always welcome Your people.
Encourage us when there are little signs of interest. Strengthen our resolve to continue and not give up. Nourish us when we become disappointed or dispirited.
Grant open ears and hearts to those who hear, may those seeds take root and grow strong and new life flourish.
It is, in that newness of life, we pray for those at the beginning of a new life journey with You. A life in which all may know Your care and concern; Your love and peace.
We pray too for those who look to the future not with anticipation but with concern, uphold them. May your love be like a seed, taking root in their life and growing strong.
It is, in gratitude for Your faithfulness in years past we give thanks. It is a faithfulness that has seen us through difficult times; it is a faithfulness we trust will continue in the years to come through your renewing Spirit.
Amen, and may God bless us, keep us safe in His love and help us grow in faith.