October 7, 2018 THE SEEDS WE PLANT
October 7, 2018 Luke 8:4-15
SEEDS WE PLANT
Looking around these past few weeks we’ve all seen how the farmers are in the fields taking in the crops that have been planted. Millions of corn and soy bean seeds planted in small and large fields, in small and large communities, but they all come together at harvest time to produce a product for our country and for the world. It takes lots of preparation to get fields ready, and then the planting, and then the waiting, then the harvest. Year after year it is the same. I don’t have to tell farmers that, because they all know that. For some farming is in their blood. For others it’s because it was in your family and it was passed on to you. That’s how you make a living.
I was trying to think about something this morning that could lead up to our communion time. I began to think about the parable of the sower and the seeds. I thought about the different ground that the seeds fell on, and I thought of the seed itself. In the parable by Jesus Luke records, “The 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 of the air ate it up. Some fell on rock, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. Other seed fell among thorns which grew up with it and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded crop, a hundred times more than was sown.”
Four different grounds, four different results. The one sower, and the one seed. The understanding of that parable comes from Jesus himself as Luke records it for us. “This is the meaning of the parable. The seed is the word of God. 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. Those on the rock 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. 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. 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.”
Thus, ends the Parable of the Sower.
This parable describes four soils. They represent all of those who heard the Word of God. The first soil immediately rejected it. The second soil quickly accepted it, but it didn’t go deep within, so it soon fell back into old patterns of sin. The third soil grew, but the pleasures of life stunted their fruitfulness. The ways of world were more inviting, such as the story of the Prodigal Son that Jesus told. It is only the fourth soil that bore much fruit. It was ready. It was prepared. It received the seed and it grew. All of us are one of these four soils.
We know this story well. We’ve been challenged by it and we have been asked to think about which soil we might be, and then let the Word of God, the seed that is told is this story to guide us.
But then I was thinking about what kind of “seeds” do we plant as Christians as we go along our everyday path, our mission field, if you will? What are we scattering to those we might come in contact with? You see, there are lots of grounds out there that we have contact with daily. Some are like those 4 kinds of grounds Jesus spoke about. We are asked to scatter the seeds of faith every day. From the person who fills our coffee someplace, to the person we might be riding with, or the person we may talk with on the phone, or the one you have lunch with. During our two-week excursion going to Cancun and back, and to New York and back home Carole and I have had many opportunities to be seed spreaders. Oh, not by spreading God’s word outright, but by the way we have treated those we had come in contact with. We had been blessed by a few folks that pushed Carole around in her wheel chair at the airports. They were understanding, and they were helpful. They were joyful. One young man in Cancun did his best to get us through customs as we were able to cut the line because Carole was in the wheel chair. He stayed with us until we were ready to get in our ride to the ferry. And each one did their job with joy.
But you know, others aren’t always the spreaders of good news as they travel. It still is true, you know, the world will know we are Christians by our love. In fact, when we landed in Dallas from Cancun it was going to be a long walk to our gate, so we got on a ride with a guy who was a happy guy who was from another country but lived and worked in Dallas. He was a Christian, and well, he had lots of joys. When we got to our destination, I told him I was a pastor and he was blessed. Then I gave him one of Dorothy’s prayer squares, along with a tip and he was happy. Through this little action, we were able to spread some Christian seeds of faith and joy to each other.
Walking the streets of New York City is always amazing as you see the different people from all over the world who gather there for entertainment and for pleasure. Riding the train from New York City to New Haven you could see many diverse people as well.
Think about it, we go about our own daily lives sowing seeds though we might not think that we are doing so. We sow seeds in our families, among our friends, with folks where we work, or places where we shop, or places that we enjoy. Now we may not be conscious of those seed plantings, but they are out there. A smile, an opening of a door, letting someone cut in line, can be seeds that are planted. Be grumpy with someone who serves you plants bad seeds, while being thankful for something someone does plants good seeds. You never know how all that will turn out one day. Isn’t that what Jesus did in his ministry? He sowed seeds of hope wherever he went. His disciples learned from him as well so that after the resurrection they too went about planting seeds of faith, seeds of hope, seeds of love.
Think of it, many in this world plant seeds of hate, doubt, unbelief, sarcasm, and a whole lot more. All you got to do is watch the news on TV or read the daily newspaper and you see lots of bad seeds being planted. That’s what they love to do. They seem like the lost who are hopeless, have no peace and treat people in a negative way. They may be the complainers over little things or make a big deal over something that might be small. They treat people in an uncaring way.
As followers of Christ we are asked to sow seeds of faith, joy, hope and peace. It shows a lot by our actions, not just with words, though being nice certainly does help. Anyone can be nasty. It takes a good attitude to be forgiving and accepting. We can call it spreading a little joy into someone’s life. Or spreading the seeds of faith that one day may grow.
If you look at the ground that the farmer sowed his seed, it would not be the ones you would think of doing. He just scattered it wherever he went hoping some would grow some place. That’s what God asks us to do as well. He asks us to sow his seed of faith so that many may be touched. Those seeds we sow may be watered by someone else, helped to grow by others until one day that seed that fell might come into full fruition. We are not just the planters. As Paul has said, “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God gave made it grow.”
As we prepare our hearts for communion this morning I pray that something I said might make sense and that you will open your hearts to receive the peace and love that God offers to all who come to the table and that God’s seeds of faith will grow in your heart.
And when we leave to go to our mission field, let us go ready to sow good seeds into the lives that we might touch today, tomorrow or the next day. Sow seeds of love and hope in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.