May 29, 2020 | by: Larry Lorimor | 1 Comments
As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty. — Matthew 13:23
Reading: Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23
I grew up on a farm in western Iowa — the state whose song concludes with that’s where the tall corn grows. And the corn does very well there, in part due to the climate but also due to the very good soil. Our farm had topsoil ranging from 4 inches to 14 inches deep and no rocks at all. We grew tall and productive corn. The Parable of the Sower rings true to everyone who has worked a farm or tended a garden or planted grass seed in their lawn.
The sower is the one who delivers the truth — the message about the Kingdom (verse 19). This could be a parent, a teacher, a friend, a preacher, an author, or a songwriter. The sower is the farmer who scatters the seed.
The seed is the truth — the message about the Kingdom. The seed is uniformly good and has the potential to be fruitful. Yet not all the seed is productive, and the determining factor is where the seed lands: the soil. The soil is the hearer of the word; it is each of us.
Some of the seed falls on the path where there is no opportunity to even sprout because the birds come and devour the seed. Jesus says in verse 19 that it is the evil one, Satan, who comes along and takes the seed. These seeds never sprout, never mature, never bear fruit.
Other seed falls on rocky places where the soil is so shallow the root can’t develop. This seed sprouts but has no root and can’t survive the heat of the sun and dies. Verse 21 adds understanding: this hearer “endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away.” These seeds sprout but never mature and never bear fruit.
Some of the seed falls on soil that is good but also filled with thorns. This seed grows but is choked by the thorns. Jesus’s commentary in verse 22 brings this part of the parable into our world: this hearer “is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.” This seed sprouts and grows to maturity but has little or no fruit.
The rest of the seed falls on good soil and is ultimately fruitful, producing a yield of up to one hundred times what is sown: “As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty” (v. 23). This fruit sprouts, grows to maturity, and bears much fruit. As hearers of the word, we should all desire to be good soil and be fruitful.
- Reflect on this parable and learn from it. There are Biblical texts that are difficult to understand, but the parable of the sower is easily comprehended.
- Resolve to do your part to be fruitful. Don’t let the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke you. This pandemic has revealed how empty many of our interests really are. Be introspective.
- We usually prepare to hear the word by “quieting our hearts.” This parable suggests we prepare our hearts to receive the word by ripping out the thorns with a 16-inch moldboard plow. Selah.
- This parable primarily focuses on the soil, but there would be no fruit without the farmer. Purpose to be a sower. “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” (Romans 10:15).