The Rev’d Derek Arnold
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“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.”
Are you an optimist or pessimist? The pessimist would say that the glass is half empty, whereas the optimist would say that it is half full. Most of us are familiar with this saying, but have we ever stopped to consider how important this issue is? I believe it really matters whether we think the glass is half empty or half full.
Half empty, inspires one way of living, but half full inspires a radically different way. Yet they are both based on the same facts: the same glass, and the same amount of liquid. At the heart of the parable we just heard from Jesus, is this notion of how we see and understand the things of life.
This parable is about us, we are the Sowers, the ones who are called to try and live out our faith, as God intended. The ones called to try and share our faith in both word and deed, and the ones called to share out the abundance of God’s love for us. But it means doing stuff; it requires action from us. But how often does it seem that a lot of what we do is wasted, and nothing much comes of it?
But to sow with hope and confidence is to have the perspective of the Kingdom of God. You don’t mind the thin soil, rocks, fat birds, thorns, and weeds or whatever else may get in the way, because all of that stuff just doesn’t matter.
The one who sows is simply called to scatter the seed, to love, to serve and to trust. The rest will be taken care of. This is not because of our abilities; it is because of the power of God. This perspective of hope and confidence is the gift of this parable.
Certainly, much will be wasted, at least as we see it. Maybe even our very favourite seed, our best, most self-sacrificing good deed, our smartest remark, our greatest insight, will end up on a rocky path, or inside some fat bird. But that is not ours to control; it is not ours to fix; it is not even ours to worry about.
This parable helps us to lighten our step and extend our reach. It gives us the wonderful gift of perspective, so we can wave at the birds and smile at the weeds, they are not our concern.
For the love we offer in the Lord’s name, is the word of God. And that word, God promises, will not return to God empty but it will accomplish that which God intends for it; and it will prosper in the thing for which it is sent. We are called to scatter and God will reap the harvest.
THE COLLECT (alternative)
you give us gifts and make them grow:
though our faith is small as mustard seed,
make it grow to your glory
and the flourishing of your kingdom;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.