The parables of Jesus contained in the Gospel of Matthew are about the kingdom of God… and an important aspect of today’s parable explores our hearing of God’s word and what that hearing means in our life.
The farmers who heard this story about the sower and the seed could understand from their experience that planting seed was a process in which some of the seed would grow… and that some of the seedwould not. They scattered seeds by hand and plowed it in after so…seed fell everywhere… Some on the hard- packed path… some on the rocky ground… some would land among the thorns… and some would fall on the rich ground. This part of the parable was familiar to his hearers… but the attention getting part of the story is the yield that the seed produces… a hundred or sixty or thirty fold… which was far greater than anything they ever experienced or could imagine… and they probably all thought I want some of that seed… because it was unlike anything they knew.
A hundred, or sixty, or thirty percent yield from the seed for these farmers would be about as amazing as our retirement accounts or college funds having a hundred percent return for the year… or our boss telling us we’re getting a hundred percent raise for next year. We’d all want that financial advisor’s advice… or to work for that boss because of the bounty that would follow.
But we know that Jesus isn’t just giving agricultural advice to farmers… nor giving us financial or employment tips… but rather teaching us about the kingdom of God… about God’s super-abundant generosity… and about the effectiveness of the word of God at work in the lives of those who receive it.
In the parable… the sower and the seed are the only constants… and the types of soil and the yields are the variables. The seed produces something wherever it lands… but the better the soil… the better the result.
In this parable….
…Jesus is the sower… and sows gifts lavishly and indiscriminately…without boundaries… and
…the seed is the word of God… always effective and fruitful and bountiful…
…The different types of soil and the yield speak to the receptiveness of the hearers of the word of God…hearers like you and me… and to our desire to put the word of God into practice in our life.
You see…. From the parable:• Some hear and do not understand… or hear and reject the word of God and produce nothing… like the seed on the foot path
• Some hear with joy at first but the word does not take root and its effectiveness fades quickly… like the sprigs on the rocky ground;
• Some hear but anxiety and material matters take center stageand choke out the word of God… like thorns strangling new growth;
• And finally some hear and understand and let God’s word grow in their life… like seed in rich soil.
We know that true hearing is different than simply listening. We sit here…week after week… or tune in and catch the live stream and “listen” to God’s word… but do we hear and try to understand? Do we reflect and ponder and consider what God’s word means to us in our life?
We might be quiet and still… but are we able to abandon our cell phones and texts… and disengage from the thoughts of our enormous “to-do” list and give our mind and heart to God’s word and God’s work?
… And if we can devote these few minutes to hearing and understanding God’s word… does what we hear take root and influence our thoughts and actions once we leave this place and step back into our hectic world?
The word of God in scripture… and the Word of God in the life of Jesus Christ… is powerful and important and can be effective in our life as we become that rich soil… cultivate your heart and mind… and hearing… to allow God’s word to blossom in this world through you…
Blessed are your ears because they hear… Hear and let God’s word produce that abundant harvest of a hundred or sixty or thirty fold…right here… in your life.