Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Parable of the Soils

Sowing Seed
Saint Mathew tells us, "Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore.Then he told them many things in parables." "Listen!" said Jesus to get the crowd's attention. "A farmer went out to sow his seed."

Jesus probably looked around and saw a farmer sowing seed by hand in a field on the hillside behind the people. Maybe the crowd turned around to get a look as Jesus motioned spreading the seed from his hand on to the land.

This was a familiar scene for these country people. Jesus spoke in words and word pictures that the people could understand as he does to us today. So we have, "The Parable of the Sower," or as I would call it, "The parable of the Soils" for it is much more about the types of soil the seed falls into than the farmer who does the sowing. The seed is the Word of God, God's voice in our lives and in the Bible. There are different types of soil as there are different types of hearers and different responses to God's Word amongst us.

There was the seed that fell upon the path around the field."As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up." Jesus explains that the path represents the kind of people who hear God's Word and do not understand it and as result Satan comes and snatches away what is sown in their hearts. The birds represent the Evil One, who aims to harm us. The Evil One does not wear red horns and a forked tail but comes in subtle disguises to lead us astray.

Tight Rope Walker
Several years ago, a young Frenchman captured the attention of the world by walking a tightrope between the towers of New York's famous World Trade Center. It scares me just to think of walking along a thin wire 1350 feet in the air. A few months later however, while practicing in St. Petersburg in Florida he fell 30 feet and was injured. As he lay waiting for help, he reportedly beat his fist on the ground saying, "I can't believe it! I can't believe it! I never fall." He had become careless.

Mother Teresa of India, the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize recipient said, "The biggest disease today is not leprosy or tuberculosis, but rather the feeling of being unwanted, uncared for and deserted by everyone. The greatest evil is the lack of love and charity, the terrible indifference towards one's neighbor."

Jesus then talked about the rocky places with little soil between them."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." Jesus explains that this is the person who hears the Word of God and immediately receives it with joy yet he has no root in himself and endures for a while but when pressure comes, he folds.

John Nesbitt writes in "New Directions - Transforming our Lives" "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care." We can know a lot about Jesus without actually knowing Him personally as our friend and Savior.

A Crane

Next, Jesus talks about the thorns, "Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants." Jesus explains that the cares of the world and the delight in riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. A new car, overtime at work, a holiday cruise, savings for retirement, pay off the mortgage, a boat, trailer, or a cottage. The delight in riches chokes the word and it proves unfruitful.

An old fable tells about a crane that was wading in a stream looking for some snails when a beautiful swan landed nearby. The crane had never seen a swan before, so he asked, "What are you?" "I'm a swan," came the reply, "and where did you come from?" the crane inquired. "Heaven," the swan answered. "What is that?" asked the crane. The swan eagerly began to explain its beauty and glory. He spoke of the New Jerusalem, the city of pure gold, with a jasper wall and pearly gates. He described its "pure river of water of life, as clear as crystal." At this point the crane interrupted, "Tell me, are there any snails in Heaven?" "No, I'm afraid not," the swan said. "Then I don't care to go there," the crane stated decisively, "I like snails!"

"Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop - a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown." Jesus later explains, "This is he who hears the Word, and understands it; he indeed bears fruit."

When someone is converted from sin and becomes a Christian, they affect other lives by the way they live. Selfless devotion, kindness and a deep love of God produces fruit in other people's lives 100, 60 or 30 fold. This may seem overstated to us but this past week I had an email from a Pauo Godson who had been on my website ( from Ibadan Oyo State in Nigeria. He had heard the Word and received it so he went out and told all his family and friends. He wrote, "I realized that I am a lost sinner so I repented of my sins and gave my whole life to Jesus Christ who is now my Lord and Messiah. I did not stop, I went ahead telling other friends about Jesus and to the glory of God 61 other brothers and sisters gave their lives to Christ."In the end there were 62 who were converted! Now they can't wait to get enough Bibles for everyone and start reading them and "lead other lost souls to Christ." What a wonderful thing. Praise God.

"He who has ears, let him hear." says Jesus. In other words, just do it!

That's what I think, anyway.

Rev Ron
from Matthew's Gospel Chapter 13:1-9 (N.I.V.)

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