Then he told them many things in parables, saying: "A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. He who has ears, let him hear."
There was a dead patch of grass in our front yard. Every year it got worst and worst. Our neighbor was very helpful. He asked the superintendent to pour some mud over the dead patch. Then he came by and spread grass seeds over it. He told me to pour some top soil over it and water it every day.
The patches with top soil over them.
I am not much of a gardener. Though I quickly learn the need to keep the soil compact and sprinkled water over it. I once tried to pour water on the soil. Because the seeds were lighter than the soil, they floated to the top. Free meals for the sparrows.
A few weeks later, after much watering and patience, we had a few grasslings popped up.
A few weeks of rain and watering.
A closer look. The white spots are flower pedals from a nearby tree.
We didn't see all the patches with the same type of growth. Though these little grass-lings were positive and gave me hope that we are on the right track.
This gardening experience reminded of a sermon I heard a month ago. It was on the Parable of the Sower. In the parable, Jesus later explained that God is the sower. The seeds were the messages concerning the Kingdom of God (I take this as the Good News). Different people will listen to the message and have different reaction.
"Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away. The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown."
First type - Along the path, the birds came and ate it up. (v 4)
Jesus explanation - Those who don't understand the message, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. (v 19)
Second type - Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. (v 5-6)
Jesus explanation - The man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away. (v 20-21)
Third type - Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. (v 7)
Jesus explanation - The man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. (v 22)
Last type - seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. (v 8)
Jesus explanation - The man who hears the word and understands it. (v 23)
The pastor ended off the sermon that we should be preparing the soil to receive the message and produce a crop from it.
My interpretation of this parable is that sometimes when we share the Gospel, some people will accept and some won't. We can't determine who is which type of soil the seed land on. In fact, I am leaning on the fact that if I am the first type, I cannot change my soil to the last type (the good soil). It is the God who give us an understanding of His Will and His message (Matthew 16:17). And I seen that, some people just don't understand. And some people will believe quickly and stop believing quicker. Though I concern, my role is not to convert soil (other than preparing my own soil). My job is to spread the gospel to everyone, just like the sower who spread the seeds everywhere. Regardless of the soil the seed will land.
I like how the pastor taught us to focus on preparing my own soil. Till it. My own heart to receive such message. It is more hopeful, practical than my own interpretation.
Ok..so going back to it..how does one practically take this message in? There are many things we can talk about. I would say first grow an intimate relationship with God. Reading the Bible, pray everyday are key ingredient. Seek an honest relationship with Him. Have an accountability partner and strive to live everyday to seek His Will (what is His Will anyway?) And of course, follow the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) and Great Commandment (Love the Lord, Love our neighbors [Mark 12:28-34]).
A few weeks ago, I crash into Im's car (I wrote a post on it). Tonight I met up with Im and spent the time to go over his resume. He had been looking for a job in Canada. He had great skills and experience. I shared with him what I did for my resume and with that how I landed my job. I sound pretty nuts because I love to job hunt and to send resume. I never thought resume preparation skills was useful for extending God's Kingdom. Im was grateful for all the assistance. I am actually quite excited for Im. He has great management experience. I can't wait to see the results after we spruce up and polish his resume.
My church is having a 21st Anniversary this Sun. I invited Im to join me for a luncheon. I told him there might be a few people that can help him. Im doesn't know too many people here.
Tonight I thought more about this. Five years ago, I would never think this resume/job hunting skill would be ever come to helping a neighbor (take note that this is the neighbor that I bang up his brand new car!) and an avenue to share the Gospel. God uses my careless driving to extend His Kingdom :))) I can still remember those awkward situation when I wonder how generous I should be. Because it just feels so weird and unnatural. But the more I engage in His Work, the less awkward it feels. The more I entrust in Him, the more it makes sense!
Like my front yard, I am still tilling my own soil so the seed can produce a good crop. It will take time and it won't be over night. It will also take a lot of care. Just like those little grass-lings I am joyful to see. Given the right condition, the Father will grow a crop, hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown...
Here's a few pics from what my mother had been laboring....
Lilies, POSIONOUS to cats...my cat was very sick last year. We suspect he took a bite of this beautiful plant.