In Matthew 13 Jesus tells us about a farmer who went out to sow seed.
“As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.
Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.
Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants.
Still, other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty, or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.” (Matt 13:4-9)
There are a lot of ways to interpret this parable, but most of the time it’s presented as a story about the nature of soil… and we’re the soil.
As a kid, I listened in earnest when this parable was preached. You see, I really wanted to be good soil. But I could do the math well enough to realize the odds were against me, cause 3 out of 4 soils suck.
It seems 75% of all soil is in for some bad news.
But there was also good news, for 25% of us. And that was the gospel I was raised in.
A lot of those early formative prayers could be boiled down to “Dear God, I was bad soil again today, please help me beat the odds tomorrow, amen”
They were sincere prayers, the best I had, cause, again, it was my heart’s desire to be good soil.
I could spend the rest of this article breaking down all the teaching I received on the nature of bad soil in all its forms, paths, rocky and thorny. But what if this parable is not about the nature of soil, but is about a Sower and the transformative power of seed?
If God is Love, I imagine He would sow generously, everywhere, willy-nilly, just like the Sower; as if He had a measureless amount of seed, as if Love was a limitlessly transforming revelation.
What if life is a journey of transformation?
What if Love is the seed introduced to our delusions, deceptions, experiences, religious idolatries, ignorance, fear, shame, and unkind thoughts towards ourselves and others?
What if Love is the seed that challenges retributive thinking, dualism, elitism, bitterness, and control?
What if Love is a seed that confronts and invades the ego and every broken ideology of man, every sinful thought, belief, and action?
If God is Love, and He is, and if Love is reconciling the world to Himself not counting our poor soil against us, then maybe we could read this Parable as a story about the transformative nature of measureless Love…
“Some fell along the path…” isn’t that beautiful; Love sows on a path. And before the birds could consume it, Love changed the nature of the path; it became rocky soil. And in this rocky soil were signs of life.
“Some fell on rocky places…,” and before the sun had scorched its root system, Love had cultivated the soil and once again transformed it. In this weed-infested soil, everything grew.
“Other seed fell among thorns…” and even as the thorns ran rampant the soil was being transformed because “…the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end…(Lam 3:22) ” Because He makes all things new… (Rev 21:5).
Still, other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown…”
When you approach the Parable of the Sower through Christ’s reconciling work of the cross, you just might find yourself thankful for the generous nature of the Sower and remember in your own life the beautiful transformative power of seed.
“Whoever has ears, let them hear.”
Some of this article is excerpted from my forthcoming book, Leaving and finding Jesus
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