Luke 8:4 “While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable: 5 “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds ate it up. 6 Some fell on rocky ground, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.”
When he said this, he called out, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”
This passage, comes immediately after the sinful woman anoints Jesus (Luke 7), and washes his feet with her hair and tears, showing extravagant love, devotion and worship. Jesus said of her: “those who have been forgiven much love much, those who have been forgiven little love little”.
Luke 8.1-5, talks about some women also joining the 12 disciples financing his ministry from their personal monies.
I believe that Luke is painting a picture for us of what being a “good soil disciple” looks like.
“Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown”.
This is not just a couple more ‘bums on seats’, a few more consumers of Christian stuff, an addition to the number. Rather Luke is showing us the multiplication of the Kingdom of God through transformed people giving their everything they are for the Kingdom cause.
The Parable is about our response to God and his word, the seed is (as we find out later) the word of God, and it is clear there is no difference in the quality and potency of the seeds that hit the path, or the rocky place, or the good soil… it was all hit by good seed.
I think that we sometimes loose faith that the seed, the word of God, is good seed, it is good news, it brings salvation, it transforms lives and changes hearts.
The seed is more potent and more powerful than we often think, we need -I believe as Christians- to remember what we have in our hand, the privilege of partnering with God in sowing into his world.
The seed, the word of God brings not just addition, but rather multiplication.
In Church we are used to the idea of a new addition, yet sadly less used to the idea of the multiplication of discipleship where transformed people reach out and transform others, we have within us a beautiful and contagious Kingdom, that spreads like wildfire, an unstoppable Kingdom. .
-Elsewhere Jesus likens the Kingdom to mustard seed, which grows and takes over like Japanese knot weed, powerful ability to take hold, grow and flourish.
This is not one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread, but rather one beggar telling every beggar where to find bread and causing something of stamped.
Yet when we doubt the potential of the seed we often become more reticent in sowing it.
Elsewhere, we are told that if we ‘sow sparingly we reap sparingly”, the truth is (as Paul tells us in Romans) “how will they hear if no one tells them?”
-If the seed is never sown then how can we expect a harvest?
Sadly we see Christians longing for a harvest, but never sowing any seed, so our harvests don’t yield the crop we long for.
11 “This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13 Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. 14 The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. 15 But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.
So, the challenge is what kind of soil are we?
The type who never really get started in our Christian journey, we maybe dipped our toe in the water but never dived in?
The type who start off alright, but not people who put down deep roots, and when the going gets tough they head for the hills.
The type who go okay, but the pressures of life, people, expectation, lure of sin -or whatever it is for us- means we start off okay but fade/burn/drop out a pretty early on in our journey.
I want to be the fruitful soil, that takes the seed and sees it take root (and interestingly die) and birth a new harvest of grain.