Archive for August, 2010

The Parable of the Sower

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

In the parable of the sower Jesus says that the seed that is sown is the word. Now we know that the word of God is Jesus Himself, so that the hearing heart which really responds to the word becomes a child of God. There is something profound and deeply challenging in this because it raises some pertinent questions in relation to the Christianity which is proclaimed in the Church today.

When a hearing heart truly hears a word from God, as God, and knows it has to respond with every ounce of its strength to obey, to act, to follow, then the seed is truly planted. As other parables relate, the person sells all that he has and pursues that word with all that he possesses, with an urgency that can barely be conceived, for he has heard the holy one of God and cannot contain within his heart the longing to lay hold of, and know, life. As the Lord says, 'the violent take the kingdom by force' – a direct acknowledgement of this violence of longing hope. The person, who has truly understood that this 'word' is life, cannot but continue to grow, for he feels God's life in him, for this word wounds him deeply, with a love too deep for words. Jesus says to Nicodemus, 'unless you are born from above you cannot see the kingdom of God'. This being so we are still dead in our sins unless we fully receive into ourselves the word that is sown.

Jesus says elsewhere, 'My sheep hear my voice and another voice they will not follow'. How does this relate back to the parable of the sower? Obviously the seed that fell by the road – the hearers who do not even hear the word for Satan immediately plucks it from them – are not His sheep. But the others, the seed that falls on rocky ground, or amongst the thorns, or in the good soil, are those that begin to walk, and to outside appearance might look like disciples and call themselves Christian. So the Church might be described as a body of people with various levels of commitment to the word which has been sown. In other words to declare yourself a Christian is no guarantee that you are one in whom the seed has fallen on good ground! The proof of how you walk relates to the word above, 'My sheep hear My voice and another voice they will not follow'.

When a man sows his seed it produces offspring, so too with God. We are called that we might become children, children of God. If the seed truly is of God then the fruit also will be. The depth of your commitment to the implanted word, the degree to which you respond, how deeply you sanctify yourself to your growth in God, how completely it is your desire to know and delight in Him, determines the outcome of your growing into His image and truly being His children and thus produce the fruits – 'thirty, sixty and a hundredfold'.

We are called to be like Him! Paul says, 'It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me', and again, '(God) called me through His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me, that I might proclaim the Gospel to the Gentiles'. Which leads us to the deeper problem of the Church. The only power by which we can proclaim the Gospel is by Christ working in us, with us, and through us! If we declare that we are unable to attain His likeness, here on earth, then we can never truly preach the Gospel! Not only this but the Gospel we do declare cannot truly be the Gospel! The word that the Church teaches which in its maturity declares 'that I must continue sinning until the day I die', cannot be a seed from God but must indeed be a tare, a seed from Satan!