Being a farmer myself, I have always been interested in the fact that Jesus often spoke to people in agricultural terms. Of course, many times He was speaking to people very linked to the land, their animals and the connections between life and death and the natural cycles that exist. Having said that, I became very confused by some of the farming parables found in Scripture.
In Matthew 13:1-9, Jesus uses the imagery of a variety of soils to help His disciples (and us) understand that different people will respond to the Gospel in different ways. The farmer went to sow some seed. Some seed fell on the path, some seed fell between the rocks, some among the thorns and some fell on good, fertile soil. The seeds in each location responded differently.
When I think of this parable, I see God as the farmer. If God is the farmer then God is a farmer who is more concerned about the possibilities than the present realities. The seeds that are scattered represent a life giving force that can produce other seeds, other life. This parable states that the farmer is throwing seeds everywhere. Seeds are the farmer’s investment. I worked with many farmers in Haiti and I can tell you that they do not like to waste seeds. Seeds cost money and money is hard to come by.
The farmer is investing in hope.
He hopes that all of the seeds will grow. He hopes so much that he is willing to throw seeds into places that seem impossible for seeds to grow.
Those seeds that fell upon the path are those who find themselves trampled on by others. They are those who no one sees in life, the ones that are told they will amount to nothing.
The seeds that fell among the weeds and thorns are those who try and grow but are choked out by the difficulties and trials of life. Then there are the poor and the hungry. Their lives are lived out as if they live on a stone. They have absolutely nothing. There is nothing for their hope and aspirations to sprout in.
Jesus said that the seeds that fell on fertile soil produced a hundred times. He did not say that the unfavorable conditions did not produce at all and this is the exciting part of the Good News! Out of darkness we see light. From the down trodden we find leaders and servants for the cause of Christ. Despite the weeds and thorns of sexual abuse, drug addictions and physical abuse, we find some seeds producing missionaries, teachers and loving pastors. Even in those places where there is no soil at all and the chances are very minimal we find miracles taking place. From those places in the world where people are starving to death we find people finding hope and the unconditional love of God.
God- the farmer who hopes beyond hope and believes where there is no belief.