Be still and rest in the Lord.
Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23 (NRSV)
That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: “Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Let anyone with ears listen!”
“Hear then the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing. But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”
I grew up on a farm where we planted many kinds of seeds. We planted vegetable seeds in the garden, flower seeds in pots, and corn, cotton, and soybean seeds in the fields. Our goal was to plant the seeds when there was moisture in the ground or close to a time when rain was in the near future. I remember becoming impatient if the seeds failed to produce a green shoot in a day or two. I wanted instant results, but over time I realized that sometimes we have to wait; some results occur quickly, other times the seeds never produced a harvest.
After reading Jesus’ parable in Matthew 13, I believe Jesus was preparing the disciples for the same principle when they sowed seeds of God’s love. Jesus did not want his disciples to be surprised or discouraged by the different responses made by those who listened. Jesus wanted to encourage the disciples to continue sowing seeds of God’s love, realizing that seeds grow in the soil of receptive hearts, but not all hearts are receptive.
I certainly need to remember these encouraging words of Jesus, especially when there seems to be no response to the seeds I am sowing and I grow discouraged. I am going to remain faithful to sowing seeds of God’s love and leave the results to God.
God, encourage us to remain faithful and sow seeds of your love to all who are brought into our lives. Amen.
Go with God.