Seventh Sunday after Pentecost
Listening to a Parable
Today’s text is an interesting and profound text, but one I contend is often misunderstood. Matthew tells us that Jesus goes out of the house and sits by the sea, and a great crowd assembles to hear him. As he is prone to do, Jesus tells them a parable, this time about a sower who goes out to sow seed. As the sower sows, Jesus says the seed falls on various types of soil, some more receptive and productive than others. Here is where I contend we often misunderstand what Jesus desires to teach us.
In reading the text, we tend to focus on the types of soil, turning the parable into a text about us, asking ourselves what type of soil we or those we seek to serve are. But when we approach the text from that perspective, we lose the point Jesus is making. The soil is not the point of the text. The focus of the text is the sower, extravagantly and abundantly sowing seed wherever he walked. The sower doesn’t limit his sowing to particular areas that conventional wisdom says will produce the best result. Nor does he limit the amount of seed he sows out of a scarcity mind-set. Instead, the sower simply sows as he goes—sowing extravagantly and abundantly, with total disregard to the harvest it will produce and without fear of running out of seed.
The sower is of course God, extravagantly and abundantly sowing the seeds of God’s Word to all. And God does so, even in places where sowing seems futile, where seed is unlikely to take root, because God desires for all to hear the Word, accept it, and be saved.
As you go through this week, reflect on how God has extravagantly and abundantly sown the seed of God’s Word in your life and in the lives of those around you. Reflect on how extravagantly and abundantly God sowed, even when you thought sowing seemed futile or seeds unlikely to take root.
Then, go and do likewise.
Rusty Rushing, pastor, Little Church on the Lane and Peace Moravian Church,
Charlotte, North Carolina