The parable of the sower was at the heart of the service. As it is at the heart of what we do as Christians in bringing the word to others. Our joy, our honour and our duties is to bring the good word to the world. Many do this with great joy, many with great sincerity and many with great diligence. It is the single best duty we can have. The smiles it brings, the joy it begins and the hope that it brings make the sowing of the word the most rewarding privilege we have.
Yet in the parable is a warning and an instruction. For that seed that is sown along the hard path found no purchase and was eaten by crows. That which is sown on rocky grown grew but failed and burnt as the soil was too shallow to allow root and succour from the water that found no hold. That which is sown among weeds is choked and dies.
The lesson for many is to find only the good soil, to nurture the good and let it gown and multiply 30, 60 or 100 times. It is good and this bounty will fill the heart, body and soul. This sowing brings great joy to the sower and the seed and it is good.
Yet my Grandfather was a farmer and my father upon that farm grew. Their faith holds true the salt, the water and the grain. The necessities of life. Now the soil where our family farm is good soil, but it was not always that way and it was not all so. I spent summers upon that farm and many lessons did I learn. For my Grandfather and Father were sowers of seeds.
Oft times a path would grow with use hardening the ground, the plow and the till softened and turned the soil until it was ready for the seed again. Persistence turned the unyielding ground back to fertile ground.
Some fields had many stones and rocks, the plowing was hard and the stones by hand needed to be picked and removed, this my father and grandfather did over many years clear resulting in stone edges and hills, yet that soil became a productive field. Patience had meted its reward and that once hard and rocky soil was now an abundant field
Other fields grew filled with weeds and wild oats the harvest being spoiled and the grade reduced. Yet with the fallowing of the ground and retilling, then application of the good fertilizer the weeds gave their nutrients back to the soil. Planning turned weed to wheat and the harvest became good.
The good soil is easy and productive. The bad soil is often the hard and unrewarding. Yet the as my Family Farm taught me, it is this ground unloved and unwanted that can provide the greatest yield if given the love and care. Maybe Jesus is teaching us it is not the joy of good ground only we should seek but that hard work and struggles to bring the bad soil to good.
Maybe the lesson is in preparing the soil as much as the sowing of the seed.