The Seed

It was a crisp, sunny morning. A few puffy white clouds painted dancing figures upon the baby blue canvas overhead. A light, warm breeze kissed our faces from the south, the promise of spring. Our teacher walked briskly ahead of us as we struggled to keep up, not sure where we were headed but positive something awesome was in store.

Suddenly, we stopped. The dirt road continued to wind around the glassy sea just below us. Gentle waves lapped on the gray rocks before us as our teacher climbed into a small boat. In the distance, tilled fields sat patiently awaiting the fulfillment of their purpose - bountiful harvests and plentiful crops for their owners in the months to come.

The crowds pushed in as we were instructed to take a seat, everyone trying to get as close as possible to the man who had entranced us with his knowledge, kindness, and wisdom. Then, using the sparkling waters as his amphitheater, he spoke to the multitude:

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. Whoever has ears, let them hear.

He always spoke to us in stories and anecdotes, but it wasn’t until this particular speech that I realized his genius. Our teacher had brought us here for a reason. The location was perfect for all to hear what he had to say – the quiet serenity of the secluded countryside mixed with the amplifying ability of the sea made for the perfect classroom. Not to mention that he was speaking spiritual lessons to us in terms of what we could see and relate to at that moment. It was as if my mind had exploded with the revelation of his intentionality.

But there was more…

I felt a burning in my heart. Those words our teacher had spoken… what did it mean to me? Was I the farmer or the seed? Or perhaps even one of the birds? Had I heard the Word of the Lord? Had it been deeply rooted in me? Was I snatching the Word away from others? Or was I meant to plant the Word among others?

Everyone listened intently as the teacher continued his parables, but I couldn’t help being distracted by the thoughts he had planted in my own mind. This man had come proclaiming glorious news of the coming of the Kingdom of God, and I had rejoiced and followed after him, eagerly desiring to fill my soul with the good things the teacher had to say. Yet, I hadn’t shared his message with my friends. I hadn’t spoken of his wisdom to my family. I hadn’t even invited a neighbor to come with me to hear the Truth.

I was consumed with inadequacy and shame as the explanation resounded in my ears:

…the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding one hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.

I snapped out of my introspective trance as our teacher spoke to us once again:

A man scattered seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain – first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head…

I knew then what had to be done. I needed to produce a crop. I needed to be the good seed or the farmer or whatever I could be to spread this great news! There were seeds to be sown and it was my job to sow them. It was all of our jobs to sow them, really. And I wouldn’t waste another moment.

As our teacher finished his lessons and the crowd was dismissed, I headed back down that solitary dirt road toward home, filled with resolve and seeing everything quite differently than before. I would start with my family and then speak to my friends… they all needed to know the good news.

They all needed the seed to be sown in them.

This is an adaptation of Matthew 13:1-23 and Mark 4:1-9, 26-28.