Matthew 13: 18-23 New revised standard version (NRSV)
The parable of the sower explained
18 “Then listen to the parable of the sower. 19 When one hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the wicked come and take away what is sown in the heart; that is what is sown along the way. 20 As for what is sown on the stony ground, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 yet such a person has no roots, but lasts only a short time, and when trouble or persecution arises because of words, that person immediately falls away.[a] 22 As for the sown thorn, it is he who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the bait of wealth stifle the word, and give nothing. 23 But as for what is sown on good soil, it is he who hears the word and understands it, who truly bears and bears fruit, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty. ”
Tim’s dedicated thinking for today
Many of Jesus ’teachings were in parables, stories that made a point and usually amazed his first listeners with a new way of looking at things. Today’s reading actually follows Jesus’ “Parable of the Sower and the Seed.” A better title for that parable would be, “The Parable of the Soil” because the focus is not really on the sower or the seed, but on ground. The parable leads us to focus on the soil and how different types of soil give different results.
The sower in the parable sows with a method called broadcasting, where he scatters the seeds on the ground that is broken, and not plowed in rows. This sower “scatters” the seed, throwing it away. He throws it on good and bad soil, on wheat fields and weed fields. The sower pulls the seed out of the bag by throwing it here and there as he walks back and forth. This is the methodology described in the parable.
This scattered seed falls on different types of soil. Some of the seeds fall on a trail that has become impenetrably hard from the constant pounding of feet on the trail. Some seeds fall to shallow soil that barely covers the rocky ground. Part of the seed falls on thorny soil. And some seeds fall on good, healthy, receptive soil.
This is a parable about our degree of receptivity to the realm of God and the glad tidings of God’s grace. And, more than that, it is a parable about how this “seed” can take root and grow in a fruitful way in our lives.
The farmer must pay special attention to the quality of the soil that will receive the seeds when sown in the field. So, today, the farmer will analyze the soil in the laboratory. Soil analysis is important because it tells farmers what the soil needs to be productive. Soil analysis looks for different nutrients in the soil, especially nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.
In today’s reading Jesus describes different soils.
What this story calls for is one of the most important tasks of your spiritual life: ongoing soil analysis.
So, here are a few questions about soil analysis to consider: What kind of soil did I prepare? What am I missing? What changes do I need to make to be more receptive to God’s call and grace in my life? What are the “worries of the world and the bait of wealth” that can suppress the message of the Good News from cultivation and fruit?