Sunday 16th July (Ordinary 15) by Local Preacher, Jenny Clark
Psalm 119:105-112; Genesis 25:19-34; Romans 8: 1–11; Matthew 13 : 1 – 9, 18 – 23
The lesson today is a very familiar parable and this part of Mathews Gospel shows Jesus as the teacher. Jesus tells the parable of the Sower. The seed sown falls into four categories and that which is fruitful also provides different levels of success. Jesus instructs those who have ears to listen, indicating there is a deeper meaning to the story He has told.
Thankfully, Jesus takes His disciples to a place where He can add an explanation to this Parable. The seed is the Word of God and listening carefully gives the essence of what happens to the Word when it is shared with others. The disciples seem to be given the challenge of being sowers of the Word as they are being given insights and instructions that will explain how the Word of the Kingdom will be received.
The seed that fell on the ground is carried away by birds and we are told the evil one has this opportunity to steal away the truth so that no one can start to understand or be exposed to the Kingdom.
The seed that ends up withering and choked by weeds indicate that the Word is shared but understanding is not enough to avoid the distractions that challenge what the Kingdom can offer to believers. The seed that is sown in good soil is successful but in different measure showing that there are different positive outcomes with a response to the Kingdom.
Following through with the detail of this Parable, the soil must be in good condition and the sower competent for success but that success is also dependant on the unseen work below the surface of the soil. That is the Word of the Kingdom working to bring a successful harvest. The disciples needed to understand that without understanding, the Word, good soil and the sower, then there is no harvest!
Working in Education, duties involving supervising young people at playtime, was part of my job. A colleague who was a great teacher had been a Police Officer for several years and he was an expert at finding sheltered spots to avoid the wind, sun and rain in the playground. He observed and managed any crisis but the young people never really got to know him as he didn’t interact with them. Many other staff walked and chatted with individuals and knew what problems were building. Positive interactions seemed to build trust and community in very informal ways.
Introducing seeds of the Kingdom takes time, for growth and help to overcome challenges. Quick results aren’t very often the best and helping others to see the distractions and challenge them before they are overcome, is part of our Christian fellowship. If the disciples were called to sow the seed then we are too, and there is an ongoing responsibility to maintain and nurture the soil of growth for God’s abundance to develop.
Loving Lord, there are many times when we feel unable to take on new responsibilities and feel inadequate for many reasons, yet we know that you have called us into your service as we are.
Help us to recognize that the Spirit continues to work through us as Sowers of your living word. Refresh us and sustain us as we journey together. Amen.