Parables: The Sower and the Soils

You likely don't need a reminder of the Parable of the Sower, but here it is:
Matthew 13.3-9
Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 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. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”
And as we know, in a rare change of pace, Jesus goes on to interpret the parable for us:
Matthew 13.18-23
“Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”
So, why has this parable been increasingly important to me?

Well, I speak and preach a lot. Every week I'm speaking to my church, the inmates in my Bible study, and my students in my Psychology and Christianity class. And then, on many weekends I'm speaking at churches, conferences, or guest lecturing at other schools.

And because of all that speaking I can get self-focused and self-absorbed. How did I do? Did I make an impact? I focus on my speaking ability and my ideas. And because of this, I fret and push myself.

But over the last year or so, I've become increasingly relaxed and at peace about any "impact" I'm having, largely due to the Parable of the Sower. "All you can do, Richard," I tell myself, "is sow the seed."

Much of the "success" of any talk I give isn't really in my hands. It's mostly up to the person listening and the status of their heart. And I don't have access to their heart. God does, but I don't. My job is to just sow the seed.

I've become more focused on fidelity to the task than maximizing "effectiveness." I try to do my very, very best, and once I'm done I'm at peace.

This entry was posted by Richard Beck. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply