On seed spreaders and soil testers

A beloved brother pondered, “Are these people good soil? I don’t know.”

The parable of the sower is found in all three synoptic accounts (Matthew 13:3-9; Mark 4:3-9; Luke 8:4-8). A sower spread seed along the path, on rocky ground, among thorns, and on good soil. That which fell upon the trampled path was eaten by birds. That which fell upon the rocky ground (a small layer of soil upon hardpan) had no depth of root and withered away. That which fell among the thorns was choked out.

This parable is special because Jesus explained it. We know that the seed is the word of God (Luke 8:11), the path are those who never receive the word into their hearts (Luke 8:12), the rock have joy but no root (Luke 8:13), and the thorns allow the cares of the world to choke out the word before it can mature (Luke 8:14).

Out of all the types of soil, only one is good. The good soil are “those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience” (Luke 8:15). The fruit which the good soil bears varies, “thirtyfold and sixtyfold and hundredfold” (Mark 4:20).

Some might think that the sower wasted seed. As a farmer who has planted tens of thousands of seeds, I know that some seeds can be quite expensive. Wasting those might prove costly. However, since the seed is the word of God, our sowing of it costs only our time and effort. The seed is not wasted.

If your crops do not grow, perhaps your soil is not conducive for what you have planted. You might have a soil test done before you waste your effort. Was the sower careless in wasting his effort? Jesus gives no such indication in the parable. Rather, the spreader spreads.

When Jesus left this earth, he gave his disciples marching orders.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19a)

“Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation” (Mark 16:15)

“And that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47).

Some brethren may test the soil before spreading, and rarely cast any seed. We need fewer soil testers and more seed spreaders.

Some sowers are more skilled than others, but you will never grow in your seed spreading when you are majoring in soil testing.

While we can be fruit inspectors (Matthew 7:15-20), the heart is beyond our vision. Wile some soil needs cultivation, we can never truly know what hearts may be penetrated by the seed.

Therefore, let’s sow and water, and leave the rest up to God (1 Corinthians 3:7).

Are you a soil tester or a seed spreader?

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