This week’s Thursday’s Thought for Sunday’s Service is based upon Matthew 13:1-9; 18-23:
“That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. 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. Whoever has ears, let them hear.””
(Matthew 13:1–9, NIV)
““Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. But 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 a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.””
(Matthew 13:18–23, NIV)
This well-known passage on the scattering of seeds may remind us how gardens grow. Perhaps it becomes easier to interpret when one physically stands amid carefully planted rows of flowers or vegetables, spade in one hand, watering can in the other, marveling. In any case, it may also be worthy to consider the nature of seed either deliberately planted or haphazardly scattered beyond familiar boundaries. Through our tendency to wander, we can easily observe a tomato plant or an apple tree – not just in our own garden, but in our neighbor’s yard, or from what is growing in a different town, state, or part of the world. Some has been carefully cultivated, much grows wild.
Thinking about a spiritual kind of garden, many find hope in those who pay deliberate attention to cultivating the seeds of God’s word. And not just from our own place. The benefits of bountiful gardens enhanced by many faithful people across a wide landscape, produces much fruit, multiplying the effect of God’s word, and having a very real, positive, and widespread impact.
And although there remain many locations which are desolate and difficult in relation to the gospel message, where there is hardness of heart, thorny anxiety and worry, shallow and rocky thinking, this passage still suggests promise. Within the tiniest seed there is potency to grow, and for the world to know that Jesus lives.
Rev. Richard Wagner