Monday, March 10, 2014

A Simple Sower

This morning as I was studying in the book of Acts, I came across a scripture reference to the Parable of the Sower. Most of us know this parable, have read this parable, studied this parable, and can probably recite it to anyone who asks us about it. But this morning, something stuck out at me, something I think I have forgotten and needed to be reminded of. I am the sower, and the seed that I am to be sowing is the word of God.
“Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: ‘Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and chocked them. But others fell on a good ground and yielded a crop; some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears to hear let him hear.’” Matthew 13:3-9
In our language today, we know a sower to be a farmer, someone who plants crops and expects it to yield for them. Reading these words today took me back to a time when I was a child, growing up in the farmlands of Iowa. Every spring the farmers would prepare their fields for planting. Most of these farmers have seed spreaders, large tractors that scatter the seeds for them. But back in the day of Jesus, planting of the fields was done by servants, hired by the farmer. The sower (the servants) took the seeds and scattered them over the ground. But, not every seed that fell onto the ground became crops.
I think it is important for us to remember that we are the sowers of God’s word in the field of His world. The sower is not concerned about where every seed falls, for he knows that some seeds are going to make it and some are not. The point of this parable is to show us that even though all the seeds we scatter do not turn into crops, it shouldn’t stop us from sowing the seeds. I think sometimes we get so focused on where the seeds we are sowing fall, that we forget to sow! We try to make the seeds fall into the right places so that they will take root and yield fruit. But we forget it is not up to us where the seed falls- it is only up to us to scatter the seeds.
My pastor once said that the power of the harvest is not in the ability of the sower, but in the power of the seed that is being sown. The harvest that God wants to yield through the seeds we scatter is not in our control. The harvest that God desires is in the seed that He makes take root and bear fruit to Him. Nowhere in this parable do we see the sower going to specific areas of his field and planting one seed at a time. What we see is a sower that scatters the seeds of God’s Word and then trusting God for the harvest.
Jesus explains this parable to us in verses 18-23. He shows us that there are four different types of ground in which our seeds will fall. The first one is “by the wayside” (vs. 19) This is the seed that we sow into the hearts of someone who is not ready to hear n
or ready to receive what God has for them. What happens? The enemy snatches the seeds that are sitting on top of their hearts. The second one is those that fall on the “stony places”. (vs. 20) These are those who hear the Word of God, take great joy in it, their ears are tickled by it, but as soon as the hard times come, they flee as far away from God as possible.
Next, we have the seed that falls into the ground with thorns. (vs. 22) They receive the Word of God, and perhaps even believe. But their love for the world chokes out any love for God they might have. Lastly, Jesus tells us that some of our seeds will fall into “good ground”. (vs. 23) We know this to be those that hear the Word of God, believe it and live it. As a result these seeds take root and grow up into a harvest to God’s glory. Nowhere in the explanation of this parable does Jesus point to the sower and say it is his responsibility to plant his seeds in the right places. He only states that the seeds we scatter into the field of God’s world will either grow up to glorify God or they will not. Where we sow is not the point. The point is that we sow.
I hear people saying that they can’t talk to this person about God because they just won’t receive it. And there are instances where the Lord will tell us not to cast our pearls to the swine. (Matthew 7:6) But, we cannot focus on the ground we are sowing into- we must just be willing to sow. We are the sowers of God’s Word. We scatter the spiritual truth of God’s Word upon the field of this world. The sower scatters the seeds, but the power of the harvest, the fruit of the harvest is in the seed, not in the sower. We have no control over God’s Word. We cannot pick and choose the ground we want to sow into. Only God has the power to make the ground good. Only God has the power to make the seed grow into fruit. It is God’s harvest; we are just the servants He chooses to use to plant His fields.
“So shall My Word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11) We cannot choose where our seeds will fall. We have no control over that. We are to be His servants, scattering the Word of His grace and love, leaving where the seeds land up to Him. He knows the hearts of all mankind. He knows whose heart is good ground, and whose hearts are not yet ready for Him. He does not tell us to pick and choose where to sow, He only urges us to keep sowing.
We all are sowers in the fields of God’s earth. He has given us His Seed- the Word of God to scatter upon the ground. When we try to pick and choose where His seed needs to be sown, then we have taken the power into our own hands, and the result will never yield a harvest of any kind. The power of the harvest is not in our hands. We have been given the privilege to scatter the seeds; He alone has the power to make them grow.
I pray today that we would become sowers. Not focused on where we are sowing, but focused on the seed that is in our hands to sow- the Word of God. We have no power over the seed, only God has the power. It is His harvest, His seed, His will, and His promise that if we scatter the seed of His Word, He will yield a harvest. I pray today that we would become sowers, nothing more, nothing less. In Jesus Name, amen and amen.