January 09, 2021

Sowing the Seed

Mark 4:1-9, 13-20

“Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed . . .”

—  Mark 4:3-4

When someone begins to tell you a story and it sounds unusual, it draws you in as you try to figure out why the story is being told this way. For example, it wouldn’t make any sense for a farmer to be so careless as to scatter his valuable seed just anywhere. But that’s what this farmer is doing, and that seems to be wasteful and foolish.

It turns out that Jesus’ parable begins by inviting us to see something about this farmer. From an agricultural point of view, the sower is being careless, but Jesus is not giving farming advice. He is illustrating how the Word of God is spread and how it is received.

In Jesus’ parable the farmer does not prejudge the soil. The spreading of the Word does not make presumptions about the human heart, for who knows what the conditions are until the seed has been sown there? The sower simply sows, and he does not calculate the risks and results ahead of time. He just sows.

We often cannot help thinking in terms of responsible management, efficiency, investment risks, and rates of return. As sinners, though, we would be a very poor risk for Jesus to take—but, thanks be to God, the Word comes our way.

What will you do with the gift of God’s Word coming to you today?

Lord, it’s risky to spread the good news of your grace to me, but without your Word I would be helpless. May my life receive your Word and grow from it. Amen.

About the author — Douglas MacLeod

Rev. Douglas MacLeod is a church pastor in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He has served as a pastor for over 36 years with five congregations in Michigan and Iowa. He and Cathy, his wife of 40+ years, are grateful for their three children and four grandchildren.

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