I know this much about both ancient and modern farming practice. Seed is precious. Purchasing seed usually comes at great cost and is a huge investment. Accordingly, the farmer takes great care to plant in season, after the winter freeze and before the summer sun threatens to scorch delicate seedlings.
I’ve read the parable of the sower numerous times and to be honest, it has prompted feelings of guilt. What have I done wrong that the seed of faith planted in my life hasn’t taken off and grown more vigorously? This reading is different. It seems that God has me asking me a different set of questions.
What precious word has He planted in my life in this season? It’s not the same word that He had for me 6 months or a year ago. What is He longing for me to hear and understand that is important today?
What changes do I need to make in my life today, so that that word can take hold and develop roots that reach down deep and support the new life He wants to bring? Maybe it’s churning up the soil of a hard worn path or habit (maybe it is time to actively listen more and speak less). Maybe it’s time to look for the stones that get in the way of growth, things that are easily picked up and removed (time wasted being distracted by something without much meaning…a tv show, a book that has no redeeming value).
I think that God doesn’t intend this to be an exercise is self flagellation. Jesus points to the preciousness of His word planted in us. He asks that we value the “seed” sown so that we carefully tend the soil of our lives. It is then, through his grace that the word takes root and grows within so that our humble lives become something beautiful and reveal the hand of God at work in unexpected and marvelous ways.