Intentional Farmers

"A farmer was sowing grain in his fields. As he scattered the seed across the ground, some fell beside a path, and the birds came and ate it. And some fell on rocky soil where there was little depth of earth; the plants sprang up quickly enough in the shallow soil, but the hot sun soon scorched them and they withered and died, for they had so little root. Other seeds fell among the thorns, and the thorns choked out the tender blades. But some fell on good soil, and produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as he had planted. If you have ears, listen!"

Matthew 13: 4-9 (TLB)

"Now here is the explanation of the story I told about the farmer planting grain: The hard path where some of the seeds fell represents the heart of a person who hears the Good News about the Kingdom and doesn't understand it; then Satan comes and snatches away the seeds from his heart. The shallow, rocky soil represents the heart of a man who hears the message and receives it with real joy, but he doesn't have have much depth in his life, and the seeds don't root very deeply, and after a while when trouble comes, or persecution begins because of his beliefs, his enthusiasm fades, and he drops out. The ground covered with thistles represents a man who hears the message, but cares of this life and his longing for money choke out God's Word, and he does less and less for God. The good ground represents the heart of a man who listens to the message and understands it and goes out and brings thirty, sixty, or even a hundred others into the Kingdom." Matthew 13: 18-23 (TLB)

Paul Cillo lives in Pennsylvania. When he read today's parable, he found himself wondering, How can I spread the seeds of faith everywhere I go? We can spread the seeds of faith on any soil and leave the rest to God, but having grown up in a farming community Paul couldn't help but think of farmers when he read the parable. Every farmer he knows prepares the soil, clears out rocks and weeds, and lays down fertilizer before plating seeds. The farmer then tends the crops to give them the best chance of thriving.

Thinking about planting from this perspective reminds Paul that while it is important to share his faith widely, he should not be disheartened if some seeds do not take root. He can leave those to God and focus on nurturing the budding faith of those ready for a deeper relationship with God. Jesus spread his message everywhere he went and excluded no one. But like a farmer preparing land for planting, Jesus also invested much time in the first disciples and those closest to him.

The parable of the sower invites us to consider how we are planting seeds of faith each day. and the example of the careful farmer invites us to go further: How am I investing in specific people and helping them to grow in faith? We can follow Jesus' example and share our faith with the wider world but also take time to nurture the faith of those around us.

Prayer: Dear Lord, help us to be intentional in the ways we use our gifts to share our faith with others, in Jesus' name. Amen

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