A Farmer's View of the Parable of the Sower

A Farmer's View of the Parable of the Sower

Read Romans 10:13-17, 1 Peter 3:13-20.

“Always be ready to make. Defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you.”

In an urbanized culture, the parable of the sower seems simple. It conjures up an image of that man walking in the field with a satchel about him and the sower throwing the seeds randomly about him. The story is a single snapshot. However, Jesus was not talking to city dwellers who had little connection with the farmer in the story. The story was proclaimed to people whose livelihood was intertwined with the story. It was more than just a nice story shared in some forgotten Sunday school class. It is a story of life and purpose. It requires us to place ourselves into the lives and minds of those listening to that day. It was not just a story about a sower. It was a story about them. Therefore, it is helpful to view the story from the eyes and heart of a farmer.

For urban people, the story of the sower is an event, a single snapshot of life frozen in time and space without any movement. However, when a farmer hears the story, he does not envision an image; he sees a movie picture, a process involving time, hard work, and determination done with the hope and expectations of future rewards. Sowing seeds is a process that begins long before the seeds are cast and continues until the crop reaches maturity and is ready for harvest.

Sowing begins not with the broadcasting seeds upon the ground but upon the preparation of the soil. Before the seed can take root, the soil must be plowed, cultivated, and harrowed. It is hard work that has just as much sense of urgency as the harvest. It requires preparation and timing. Plant too soon when the ground is wet, and the soil will only turn to hardpan as it dries out. Wait too late; after the spring rains have stopped, the cultivation of the earth will further dry out the ground so the seed will not have enough moisture to germinate and grow. The longer you delay, the greater the risk that the plants will not have sufficient moisture to get established before the heat and stress of the hot summer sun. To effectively sow seed, the farmer must prepare the soil at the right time in anticipation of the harvest. So it is true of evangelism. As Peter implies in 1 Peter 3, sharing the gospel begins with the cultivation of people's hearts. It begins by allowing people first to see your life amid the struggles of life so that they can see that we have a supernatural hope that they desperately desire.

When a farmer sows the seed, he also does so regardless of the size of the field. Some fields are large, open, and visible. Others are small and hidden. But each area, regardless of size or location, receives its fullest attention, not because of the size of the field but because of the potential for a crop. While a field may be small in a forgotten corner of the farm, it still can produce a bountiful harvest, so he plants the seed.

It is easy to become discouraged in sharing our faith, for we want instant results. But Paul reminds us in Romans that the sharing of the gospel is always necessary for people to come to a saving knowledge of Christ. So our task is to prepare the soil with the testimony of our life, scatter the seeds by sharing the message of the gospel and then allow the Holy Spirit to work in the hearts of people that some might come to know him.

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