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Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Today’s Reading | Matthew 13:18–23
“Hear then the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing. But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.” (NRSV)
I remember one of the first children’s sermons I was asked to give on the Parable of the Sower. “Egads!” I thought, “Sowing? I can’t even thread a needle!” Well, thank goodness everyone isn’t as dense as I was, but I do think we still miss how important successful farming was to Jesus’ audience. You don’t have to go back many generations in my husband’s family to get the picture. I can hear his mom tell me, “Rob’s granddad put five kids through college on 150 acres.” To many people, it was and is a matter of life and death.
As a writer of devotions, I’ve been blessed with a text today in which Jesus himself explains his parable. Here is a paraphrase of the four examples in the parable:
1. Seeds falling on the path = a person hearing the message and not understanding it.
2. Seeds falling on rocky places = a person hearing and understanding with joy, only to fall away when persecution because of the Word comes.
3. Seeds falling among the thorns = a person hearing and understanding the message who chokes and is made unfruitful because of the worries and deceitfulness of wealth.
4. Seed falling on good soil = a person hears, understands, and produces a crop.
In Jesus’ explanation (as I understand it) it is not about hearing the Word without understanding. It is not about hearing and understanding (a gift that I believe God bestows on each and everyone who searches)—simply understanding it doesn’t allow it to stay in your life very long. It is about hearing, understanding and most importantly, producing a crop—doing something with your knowledge.
Dear God, the Word comes from you. My understanding is a gift from you. Please help me with the only thing you’ve left to us—to produce thirty times what was sown. Amen.
Written by Katy Sinclair, Associate Director of Music for Children and Youth
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