Read:  Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23

We use to sing a lot at Bible camp. I was a counselor at a camp for about 10 summers.  This past week I took a bunch of my kids from the church where I am a pastor to camp for our yearly confirmation retreat.  It brought back a lot of good memories from summers past.  After reading this upcoming week’s Gospel lesson I thought of an amazing song someone used to sing at camp way back when.

The words are:

Lord, let my heart be good soil,
open to the seed of your word.
Lord, let my heart be good soil,
where love can grow and peace is understood.
When my heart is hard, break the stone away.
When my heart is cold, warm it with the day.
When my heart is lost, lead me on your way.
Lord, let my heart, Lord, let my heart, Lord, let my heart be good soil.

When I sing this I am brought to the foot of the cross of Jesus and I am praying for God to be with me in my times of trouble.  I am praying that the word of God is planted in my heart and that I can plant the seed of God’s word in other people’s hearts.

That’s what this parable is all about for me.  In the parable of the sower, Jesus is main character.  We can view the sower as Jesus.  Jesus does not care where he is scattering his seeds.  Some people might think that Jesus is wasting much of the seed because many times it is scattered upon ground that appears to promise little fruit.  Jesus spends his time with tax collectors and sinners, with lepers, the demon-possessed, and all manner of outcasts. Will they become faithful disciples? There is no guarantee but the seed is planted.

If we are honest with ourselves, we can probably find evidence of several kinds of soil in our lives and in our communities of faith on any given day.  Jesus does not say that we should be good soil, but that we are to plant the seeds of faith.  We should follow the example of Jesus and plant the seed, not worrying about where we are planting it.   Even if we think that some soil will be unproductive we are called to keep sowing generously, extravagantly, even in the least promising places.  This is because Jesus’ promise to us is that he will not give up on us even in spite of ourselves.  We can trust in his promise to be with us to the end of the age.

This is hard because we want to hold tightly onto our resources, we want to make sure nothing is wasted.  This causes us to lose creativity and energy for mission and we tend to resist new ideas for fear they might not work.  Mistakes will be made but if we keep our eyes on the cross we will be okay. Jesus gives us freedom to take risks for the sake of the gospel. He encourages us to sow the word, even in places we might never imagine we would be. We may wonder about the larger plan, or the efficiency of his methods,  but Jesus promises us that the crop from our sowing will be plentiful.

sowing seeds of faith

by Joe McGarry time to read: 3 min
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