In Matthew 10 we hear the parable about the sower….
1 That same day Jesus left the house and sat by the Sea of Galilee. 2 Large crowds gathered around him. So he got into a boat. He sat down in it. All the people stood on the shore. 3 Then he told them many things by using stories.
He said, “A farmer went out to plant his seed. 4 He scattered the seed on the ground. Some fell on a path. Birds came and ate it up. 5 Some seed fell on rocky places, where there wasn’t much soil. The plants came up quickly, because the soil wasn’t deep. 6 When the sun came up, it burned the plants. They dried up because they had no roots. 7 Other seed fell among thorns. The thorns grew up and crowded out the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It produced a crop 100, 60 or 30 times more than what was planted. 9 Those who have ears should listen.”
(Matthew 10: 1 – 9)
An explanation for the parable comes several verses later….
18 “Listen! Here is the meaning of the story of the farmer. 19 People hear the message about the kingdom but do not understand it. Then the evil one comes. He steals what was planted in their hearts. Those people are like the seed planted on a path. 20 Others received the seed that fell on rocky places. They are those who hear the message and at once receive it with joy. 21 But they have no roots. So they last only a short time. They quickly fall away from the faith when trouble or suffering comes because of the message. 22 Others received the seed that fell among the thorns. They are those who hear the message. But then the worries of this life and the false promises of wealth crowd it out. They keep it from producing fruit. 23 But still others received the seed that fell on good soil. They are those who hear the message and understand it. They produce a crop 100, 60 or 30 times more than the farmer planted.”
(Matthew 10: 18 – 23)
When most people read and discuss this story, they focus on the seeds. What kind of ground did the seed fall on? What happened to the seed that wasn’t in the right spot? How did the seed grow and flourish?
I would like to take a moment to consider the farmer….
The farmer in this story scattered seeds over a wide variety of terrain. Some might even accuse him of being reckless with his seeds. Afterall even an unsuccessful novice gardener like myself knows that seeds are not going to grow on a path or in rocky soil. The farmer should have been more judicious with how he used his resources and put seed only in the places where he had the greatest likelihood of flourishing.
How many of us are picky about where we plant our seed? Cautious about where we invest our money? Overly protective about how we spend our time? We want to be sure that the places we put our resources in are worthy and will yield us the maximum return…we only want to spend money and energy on “good soil.”
Yes it would be wonderful if every time we did an outreach or witnessed a mini-revival took place and several people came to know Christ. But I promise you, that is not going to happen. Don’t let that discourage you from looking for opportunities to share the message.
We don’t have the luxury of people wearing signs on their head to identify what kind of soil they are. Only time will tell. But you’ve got to plant a lot of seeds to yield a few crops. Don’t let one or two bad experiences or unproductive crops stop you from sharing. And remember even the seeds that fell on the path served a purpose…it fed the birds!