The parable from Jesus begins with the two most important parts of the parable: the farmer and the seed. The soil, while interesting and varied is not the center of the parable as many listeners might think. Jesus in his teaching, in evangelism training of his disciples begins with what is needed, the farmer and the seed.
Have you ever considered yourself a farmer in God’s Kingdom sharing the seeds of the Word of God with the world? Think for a moment about your favorite Bible story or a most loved and remembered Bible passage. How did these words come to you? Perhaps they came from parents, Sunday school teachers, pastors, friends; any variety of people could have planted the seeds of God’s Word into your being and thus affected your life. For some reason these words took root. In some way the Word of God or the story of God has grown into you and quided your life. Sometimes the Word of God has been shared and has quickly dried up, been forgotten or pushed aside for words from the world. Sometimes the words of the world have choked the memories of God’s Word. Part of the challenge of Jesus parable is this: what do you do with the plant that grows from the seeds that were sown in you heart? What do you do with the Word of God once it has taken root in your being? This is where the story of and practice of evangelism to God’s glory and in the name of Jesus begins. The seeds of God’s Word once planted bring forth new growth. New growth begets other growth and so on and so on. It is the story of the Christian faith; if it the outcome of the Acts of the Apostles. The problem in many churches today is that we, the bearers of God’s Word bringing the message of salvation have forgotten how to plant those seeds as did the farmers before us. Perhaps we have become comfortable with just running our hands through the soil, planting seeds but then become too tired or busy to nurture those seeds. Preaching from that point of view allows the hearer to step aside from the real meaning of the parable. A listener in the pew might think that since they are planted in their pews and have been growing there they are the “good soil’ people so that the parable goes right past them – they do not have listening ears. Looking at the words of Jesus from the farmer and the seed does not allow the listener to escape his or her role in the planting process. The vantage point of the farmer and the seed is really where we are called to engage Jesus. He is asking us to examine how our soil is doing. Have the Words of God’s love, mercy and salvation in Jesus taken root and brought forth the plant that bears the fruit of God’s word to others?