Love Your Neighbor Part 4
Have you ever read the parable of the sower? It’s a fairly well known and often overlooked parable found in Matthew 13. It’s pretty solid though, and I think it’s worth a second look.
It reads like this:
A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear.
The soils are important to look into, but the thing in this parable that really makes me curious is what in the world is up with the sower. It seems like he is being 100% ridiculous. He seems to be flippantly tossing seeds to any and all dirt within his throwing range. The variety of soil that he finds is actually quite impressive!
So impressive, that it almost seems intentional.
The logical thing to do would be to invest all of the seed in the soil that is good and has been prepared for growth, but the sower doesn’t do that. He aims for even the areas that most people would look right over.
The way we treat others should mirror the sower. He purposefully aimed for every kind of soil. I’d posit that this entire parable is a template for how we should treat others.
So then, by choicefully withholding love/grace/gifts from people because of cultural, physical, or ideological differences, we are directly opposing God’s example.
Flash judgments are the enemy of the gospel.
What About My “Soil”?
You don’t get the opportunity to “change” the makeup your soil. However, good soil can be found in the strangest places.
There is nothing in the parable that says all of the good soil was in one place, all of the rocky soil in another, all of the path in one area, and all of the thorns in another. The implication is that these soils are mixed and even intertwined. So you may have a family that has a very thorny background, but quite simply, if you abide back into Jesus, your soil is now “good.” It is not based on you, nor your upbringing, but rather, your personal choice to abide back into the God who is already abiding in you.
I hope you’re seeing a glimpse of the beauty and depth in this parable. Jesus changes the game by breaking away from “what is right” in the conventional wisdom of only going for the “good soil” so that He can reach me. So He can reach you.
You don’t need to worry if your soil is good enough for Jesus. He’s already down in the dirt. Word is that He loves to get His hands dirty.
Some of us may not appear to be fertile soil to the average onlooker, but God knows the heart. He knows that even in the midst of the thorny patch, in the midst of the road, in the midst of rocks, there can be soil that is perfect for a healthy, resilient fruit tree.
Jesus went out of His way in the most painful, expensive way to die for each and every soil so that we may have even the choice of abiding back into Him.
And here’s the secret for you — even the grossest, nastiest things can become the absolute best fertilizer. God doesn’t cause bad things in your life, but He definitely is a master in molding something beautiful out of the bad.
So keep your chin up. Try on the mantra of Romans 8:28.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
P.S. As a bonus, check out this song. Warning: It causes all the feels.
Beautiful things by Gungor.
Jonny has been involved with Enspire Productions since 2009. He is recently finished the MDiv. program at the Andrews University Theological Seminary and now pastors in north Texas.