Parishioner Don Wilson offered this reflection at the Coxsackie Correctional Facility this weekend. He generously shared it here with us as well.
Parable of the Sower
Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23
July 10, 2014
This gospel parable answers the question, “Why doesn’t everybody get saved?” As tremendous as salvation is, it’s a wonder that so many just don’t get God’s message of salvation!
Now, if you were Governor and you went to a prison and offered every single inmate a pardon, you’d expect every single inmate to accept the offer…so why do many of us turn down the Lord?
What is a parable, and why did Jesus teach in parables?
Parable means ‘to place alongside of’. It’s an illustration alongside a truth. It’s an earthly story with heavenly meaning. It’s a physical illustration of a spiritual concept. You see, we live in the physical, and don’t often exercise the spiritual part of us. So these illustrations help the light to break in.
They help us with finding a heart-felt understanding to God’s word!
So, why teach in parables? The disciples wondered the same thing… Jesus says there are 2 reasons I teach in parables:
“To reveal or to conceal.”
To reveal truth to those who have accepted Him and to conceal truth from those who have rejected Him.
The same principles apply to us today: If we respond positively to what light God has given us, then God will provide us with more light. Sadly said, if we fail to step into the light shone before us – no more light will be offered. But if we accept His truth with joy and conviction, God will provide us with abundant life.
There are no skipping steps with God. You cannot bypass the process He has set before us.
The steps of a good man are guided by the LORD…
Some people say they stopped growing in the Lord at a certain time in their life. They were going forward, but then it seemed to plateau and level off. If I were that person I’d go back to that time and see if there was a direction or invitation from God I failed to see? We cannot circumvent God’s truth. The train stops here until we meet the requirements to go forward.
God does not reveal truth to us so that we may consider it, but instead that we might comply with it. One of my favorite expressions is: “Use it or lose it!”
Tonight we see 3 elements to this parable: the sower, the seed, and the soil.
Notice that only 25% of the seed ends up being successful. 75% doesn’t take. So, what’s the problem?
The seed? Is it the problem? No, v. 19-20 says the seed is the Word of God. It is inerrant, infallible, and inspired. The Word of God is perfect, and so powerful that it’s even ‘well meaning’.
Consider the power contained in just a little seed. If I were to hold a few apple seeds in my hand, there would be the possibility of an entire orchard. That’s exciting, because even if I only pass His word along to a handful of folks tonight if I can just get some seeds planted they can spread and reproduce and be fruitful for ages to come!
The seed of the Word is carried daily all around the world and online with little effort…imagine what we could do if we tried!
There’s no problem with the seed.
We’re privileged to be one of places still seeing souls saved, though not as many as we’d like, it is however possible reach many more brothers and sisters.…and how is that possible? By scattering a lot of seed!
I’m afraid some us have the heart but don’t scatter the seed…the precious seed that is absolutely vital to the process of experiencing God’s love! Do you ever get around to talking about the Lord with your brothers here at Coxsackie? Do you ever share the actual words of the gospel, or just pray for them or for someone else to do the talking?
Why doesn’t everyone find salvation? Why do so many lost brothers serve their time here and walk out lost? Again, the problem is not with the seed.
A 2nd question: Is there a problem with the sower?
Jesus is the sower in this parable, so we know He sowed right. What did He do right? He sowed! What did he sow?
The gospel of the Word; Where did he Sow it?…….
Everywhere and All the time!
The magic formula of the sower is to sow ‘plentifully and, in every direction. If you aim at nothing you’re sure to hit it! We must try and try again, over and over, all the time!
We cannot continue to allow seed sowing opportunities to get by us. Don’t wait to be led…God has already led! Don’t say “I’m looking for an open door”…the door my friends is wide open.
We need to sow plentifully, passionately & patiently….in due time we’ll reap a harvest. As I said in my last reflection,” We are so close to our victory…Don’t ever give up… I believe we will all have some surprising discoveries in heaven!”
In this parable, there’s no problem with the seed or the sower, so the problem has to be with the soil.
[The Human Heart is the Soil]
There are (4) kinds of soil in this parable:
1st is the indifferent heart as pictured by ‘the wayside or the wayward’. This is the footpath alongside the fertile field. It’s been walked on so much that that dirt is hard and the seed won’t take.
This is what we call a hardened heart.
Just pray for them, that God can break up that soil, and perhaps a seed can get into a small crack somewhere!
Some of us won’t look up until we are flat on their back…so pray for circumstances to get their attention!
2nd is the impulsive heart which is represented by ‘stony ground’. It’s totally different than the ‘wayside’. It’s not rock on the surface, there is just a little soil, but then rock underneath. The seed doesn’t get very deep, so it springs up quickly. But it has no root system, and dries up and withers away.
These are our impulsive decision makers who actually make emotional or insincere professions of faith…..
Alka-Seltzer Christians: a lot of fizz at first but soon they fizzle out. Like a faulty rocket, they make a lot of noise and fire at first, but never get into orbit.
3rd is the impure heart that represents those ‘thorny places’. The thorns and weeds here may have been cut away at ground level, but the roots were still there.
Mowing the dandelions in your yard…are you ever rid of them? Of course not, they’ll sprout right back up!
These thorns, thistles and weeds represent worldliness attributes of envy, jealousy and materialism. These riches do their best to choke out the Word!
The Word Repents means to turn, and as we turn [TO Christ], we should also be turning [FROM something], and that is the ‘worldliness of dishonorable desire, deceit and corruption.’
Let’s be clear now: These 3 examples are not believers who lost their salvation… James said it best: “Faith w/out works truly is dead!” We’re not saved BY works, but by our ‘true faith’.
The 4th and final example is the heart of a true believer: This is the heart that humbly receives the truth of the Word, in genuine faith and repentance this person receives salvation and is filled w/ the indwelling Spirit of God.
What kind of ground are we/you? If you are one of the first 3 types of soil, the good news is, you don’t have to stay that way. Make sure you have a fertile heart…ask God to stir your soul and turn the layers of your life over, by turning them over to Him!