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Listen, Obey, Witness

“But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold. Whoever has ears ought to hear.”

Thank you for joining today as we continue our Ordinary Time journey focused on listening to, obeying, and witnessing to Jesus.

This is a perfect time of year for the parable Jesus offers us today, the parable of the sower and the seed.

Top level, this is a growth parable. The sower represents God, and the seed is His message. Just as a planted seed starts to grow, the word of God starts to deepen and grow within a person who is open to it, that is the person who is made up of good soil.

Considering growth, let’s think of our own gardens. Some of us have significant fruit and vegetable gardens, others smaller ones. Some have beautiful flower gardens, others a few evergreen bushes put in years ago which haven’t really been addressed since. Maybe we grow a tomato plant or two in a pot on our deck.

Regardless of situation we know the things we face. Maybe, like me, we have very rocky soil – shale about an inch or two under the soil. Maybe we have a proliferation of thorn bushes, thorny weeds, and brambles. Maybe we drop some seed on the driveway or walkway. 

Nearly every person faces situations. It is rare to find a person who meets God with readied good soil. His word is sprinkled over us as we listen and learn in church. We may even pick up scripture references in TV shows and movies. Yet, that word will have no effect, will bring about no bounty, unless we set to work preparing our soil.

Everyone can listen, or at least hear the word, but we must work to gain understanding by reading and studying the word as well as praying it. Almost anyone can receive the word with joy – be ecstatic about it – but we must keep our focus and concentration on it by placing it into action, living Jesus’ gospel. All of us have rocks and thorns and no, our soil will not be good and ready and productive without hard work.

To be the good soil God needs us to be we must first trust in Him and readily accept His grace. We cannot prepare ourselves in a vacuum. We cannot ask God to wait outside while we tidy up. We need His help and the humility of asking is a necessary step.

Then there is the work we must set to. We cannot just cut back the thorns and brambles that choke God out, we must dig down and pull them out by the root, so they never get in the way – that is repentance from our sins. We cannot just shovel topsoil over the rocks and stones in us, because their exitance will block God’s word from taking full root. We need to get rid of obstacles to God by placing Him first, above all other things and events – really.

God’s word is the seed that contains all life and goodness, peace and joy, comfort, gentleness, and love. We are called to diligence in preparing our good soil to receive life and produce good fruit in the kingdom.