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.” (Mat 13:3-9 NIV)
It is another high season of holidays this April 2006! May I first of all send you my warm greetings for the season (albeit belatedly!). As you enjoy do remember the man of Easter; Christ Jesus! How it would have been nice to write something about it again, but I realize that I did that in 2004, (refer to Journal 2004-04 titled Thank God It is Easter)! Regardless of the many negative write ups of the supposedly pagan origins of the Holiday, it does not bother me one bit! One thing I know for certain is that; there was a crucifixion Friday and a resurrection Sunday – and I have a right to bless the Lord for the season regardless of the anti-views. He was, is and will be a source of inspiration to many – and to others, a stumbling block!
So let us explore one of His greatest and most enlightening teaching methods; the use of parables. This month we explore the parable of the Sower. In simple terms a parable is more or less like a riddle which has to be solved or broken down in order to be better understood. What is striking in the method that the Lord used, was applying of analogy which was easily understood by His listeners. In simplicity He made His message relevant to those who heard him because they could be able to relate to it as it applied what they do or know in their daily lives. The Sower used here is an interesting one, at least in the way he conducts himself in the business of scattering seed. Let me explain using my own experience as a young boy.
MY GRANDMOTHER WAS A SOWER
During my childhood, especially as a boy, I was privileged to watch my old grandmother sow seed in her garden or land. One thing I can tell you straight away is that apart from being a sower like the one in the Lords’ parable, her approach was quite different from the biblical one! This is how…
First of all the seed to be sowed was carefully selected from the best and mature; corn, millet, sorghum or whatever she intended to sow. This was followed by tying them into bundles and hanging them high on rafters above the fire place of her hut. This ensured that the seed will slowly dry well, as well as keep away pests and rodents. When the season for sowing came my grandmother would get her hoe and proceeded to clear a patch of ground from all weeds ensuring that the soil is carefully turned over and prepared evenly. All weeds and shrubs are heaped and burned to ashes. Manure is then applied to the plot.
When she is thoroughly satisfied that the soil is well prepared then and only then does she get her bundles of seed, threshes them into a sowers bag, heads for the plot and proceeds to carefully scatter her seeds over the prepared ground. NONE was allowed to fall anywhere else apart from the readied portion of land. Definitely no seed fell outside the ground and nothing fell in the thickets next to the farm nor was any left above ground for the birds to feast on!
As soon as she was done with scattering we were tasked to rake the topsoil using branches of thorn bushes to thoroughly work the seeds into the ground! When she was fully satisfied that no seeds where visible to the birds of the air and chickens, were we released from the task. What followed was placing of the thorn brushes along the hedge of the now planted plot to ensure that no intruders would enter the it.
When the seeds and weeds sprouted, grandma would spend most of her time uprooting all the weeds in a back breaking all day exercise, crouching over the tender shoots. After the crop was ready, we were tasked to watch and keep the birds and any animals that would dare venture near the crop away using all manner of tools; from catapults, noisy tins and traps etc. This was to be done until the crop was harvested and in the barn! A full time job…
NOT SO THE BIBLICAL SOWER…
In comparison to my late grandma, the biblical Sower seems to be blatantly careless and would not have survived in my grandmas’ time! So what is the Lord saying here?
Listen beloved, as we read further into the scripture, the Lord reveals to us that the seed is actually the Word of God! Put this in context and we can see the revelation! Do you see it? If not, then allow me to unravel it for you…
The Sower is the commissioned disciple, just like you and me who are followers of the Lord.
(Mat 28:19 NIV) Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
The Lord said ‘go and make disciples’ and did not qualify what manner of disciple nor did He discriminate of the peoples of the earth. The definitive words are – MAKE DISCIPLES OF ALL NATIONS!
ALONG THE PATHS
Have you ever come across some people who you try to witness to about the good news and they mock you or just brush you aside? Well, these are the seeds you scatter and are immediately trampled down. It is not for luck of their not knowing The Way, but of ignoring the way despite your sincere effort to show them.
These are the hardest places to reach and when one does penetrate them with the gospel; cultural practices, beliefs and traditions, have taken over almost every ground to the extend that any soul that receives salvation is soon withered out due to lack of support. The hard cores will ensure that they are back in the fold of tradition under solid bondage until the next crusade is in town when they briefly revive and soon wither again. This becomes a routine until such a time they find good soil and escape the vicious circle through the deliverance of the Lord! Some poorly grounded churches that have no depth in their teachings contribute to shallowness of growth. That is why you see churches founded ages ago have lost growth momentum or have even regressed completely and became dry!
In some places I know of; pastors are even called over to pray for traditional circumcision ceremonies prior to the commencement of initiations which often involve blood covenants. Thereafter the initiates are taken through clearly demonic rituals which even include witchcraft and sorcery among equally repugnant practices that are against every Christian teachings and commandments! During such ceremonies, the light of the gospel is overshadowed by the sun of traditional practices… in turn the shallow Christian is badly scorched!
AMONG THE THORNS
This is perhaps the saddest one especially for trendy youths. The Word comes and we accept it gladly only to go back to our peers who jeer and make snide comments about our new status until the Word is choked in us. The one who is courageous is able to stand and grow despite the painful jabs. Not the weakling who can easily be bulldozed by the bullies to compromise their faith.
I remember when I got saved and accepted the Lord as my saviour, former friends and even some relatives whom we used to hang out together gave me weeks to fall and rejoin them in drinking and smoking… well I did smoke for a while – two months to be precise; but once I got delivered from it, I have never looked back. A decade later they are still waiting… and they will wait for ever! I am safely hid in the everlasting arms of Christ! What is more I am growing spiritually day by day and the would be my chokers are now keeping safe distance lest I choke them instead with the gospel – Which I do and will continue to do anyway regardless of their readiness or not! That is the Sowers attitude that we must have as witness of the Lord Jesus Christ! Hallelujah!
THE GOOD SOIL
You must have seen the huge crowds during crusades especially by evangelist and preachers like Benny Hinn, Reinhard Bonke, Dr. A K Paul among others. Have you ever wondered whatever happens to the thousands that gladly accept the Lord during altar calls? When you go church on Sunday you would be lucky to see one or two yet you saw thousands rush to the front to receive salvation! One day I thought wow, next Sunday will be full church and expected that every church was going to get at least 20 new coverts in town, but alas not even one showed up at our church! Why? The paths, rocky places, and thorny thickets are to blame that the devil uses to ensure the Word is trampled and eaten, withered and dried, and choked and malnourished!
But thank God for the good soil! Once in a while a convert comes to church who is completely sold out to the Lord. They grow deep spiritual roots and no matter the conditions around them, they move on to produce seed-thirty, sixty and hundred fold! That is why we have the Benny Hinns, Bonkes and Pauls of the crusades!
ARE YOU A SOWER?
Yea, what type of a sower are you? The careful type; like my grandma? Nothing wrong in her method for physical sowing, in fact her method is the best for millet, sorghum, corn etc. But not for the gospel! Brethren we cannot afford to be choosy, remember the Lord says to – go to all nations! This is starting right from your chang’aa (moonshine) brewing neighbor, all the way to Mongolia, Indonesia, Darfur and back again!
What about your office, Market place or business? Class? Peers? Do you share Christ or are you scared of offending their sensibilities? Of course we have to be wise in our sharing and be sensible about the way we do it! There is no point of disparaging the beliefs of others if we hope to win them to the Lord, which is why I abhorred the European cartoonist for depicting the Muslim’s prophet Mohamed in jest. As far as the gospel of Christ is concerned, the pattern of sowing is that given in the parable of the sower. We cannot afford to choose. Proclaim Christ as saviour of the world everywhere you go and to everyone who cares to listen!
Listen, you who have ears; the Sower is You and the Seed is the Word of God in You… so Sow… and may God send someone else to water and weed. The Lord alone brings the increase. Do not worry about why they are not coming to church… believe the Lord, some of your seed will fall on good ground and you shall rejoice in the harvest! I believe I am one of the seed that fell on good soil, are you the other? As somebody sowed us, we ought to sow too…
Prayer. Father of Jesus Christ; the Lord and Saviour of the world. Thank you for your Word that is eternally established in heaven. I pray for grace, courage and wisdom for every disciple reading this journal to be a bold Sower in your field. Many a times we are hindered by those used of the devil in and out of the church. Forgive us where we have become choosy yet you have commanded us to reach out to all nations. Be with us as we launch out just as you were with Abraham Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Joshua and David. I also pray for the hardened hearts that you break them and restore the heart of flesh that is receptive to your word. Touch all the sanctuaries that have become stagnant and revive the fires of the Holy Spirit again. Embolden and anoint the ministers who have lost their bearing. Revive us again oh Lord and renew a right spirit within us. Let us soar high above that which endangers our spiritual well being while forgiving us where we have sinned against you. Thank you Lord, in Jesus’ most wonderful name I pray. AMEN.