“A farmer went out to sow his seed.”
-Jesus (Matthew 13:3)
Simple and oft-cited, this parable provides its readers/hearers with a lot of different imagery with which to wrestle. On top of that, Jesus even takes the time to explain the story to his disciples. But I’m not concerned with these details this morning. Instead, I just want to focus on one picture: the sower.
Jesus doesn’t really spend much time here identifying the sower as such. The text basically associates the image with those who share the message of the Kingdom of God. So that’s Jesus. That’s the disciples. That’s Christians all throughout time. That’s me too.
I’m not an expert in farming, but it appears that what the sower is doing here is not some scientific process of planting, but rather an almost casual dispersing of seed all along the ground that has been prepared. There is method to it, but it is not overly defined by method. It is sowing.
As the farmer proceeds, seed falls everywhere. I don’t know what the personality of such a person is like, but I rather picture it as joyful. Almost whimsical, if you’ll allow it. There’s serious work to do, yes. It will take a lot of time to sow this seed, yes. But: the day is full and the wind is at their back. And they can’t wait to see what this seed will turn into. The worries of irrigation, weeding, harvesting? That’s all for another day.
I think I’d enjoy being a sower.
I realize that my mental picture of this first-century agricultural worker probably won’t pass exegetical or cultural-historical tests, but all the same I like to imagine the sower smiling and singing as their task unfolds. It is a good work, and they have a real part to play in it.
I suppose I see the sower in this light because it is how I want to picture the Christ follower as called to share the Kingdom of God. Not worrying incessantly about the science of seeds but simply focusing on fulfilling a purpose: sharing the very good news that is Jesus Christ.
There is a time for strategies and planning, of course. But there also needs to be a time for the joy of sowing. A reminder too, that at the end of the day we don’t make seeds germinate and turn them into crops. Only God gives Creation that ability. We are just along for the ride. And what a ride it is.