By Sarah Christmyer
Out by the driveway is an army of “spider flowers:” tall, pink, spiky flowers that never give up until frost. As the long seed pods mature, the kids love to take them in their hands. One gentle touch and they explode, sending a shower of seeds every which way. Some hit the walk and die. Others get lost among the weeds or are carried off by the wind. But every year, some find a home in a pocket of soil and root there, ready to leap to life the next summer for our delight.
It’s my kind of flower: something that seeks out soil to grow in.
“A sower went out to sow”
Those bursting seed pods come to mind as I hear Jesus tell the parable of the sower. “A sower went out to sow,” he starts in Matthew 13:3.
Such extravagance! I think. He doesn’t look for the perfect spot, dig rows and carefully put the seed in one by one. No, he tosses the seeds, carelessly it seems.
They hit the path, the rocky ground, and among the weeds before landing where you’d expect them to grow. And sure enough: birds gorge on them, some get scorched by the sun, and others are choked by weeds. But those that fall on good soil pay off big-time. Thirty, sixty, a hundred times as many grow as were thrown down.
Where is the good soil for the Word?
Sometimes I look out across the field that is my patch of the world and think how many hard and stony hearts there are. How many weeds and hungry birds of prey. Where is the good soil for the message of the gospel?
Certainly, it helps to prepare the ground. But what did Jesus do? He scattered seed.
Extravagance … or a calculated risk?
He scattered the seed of his word regardless of the soil. Where I might skip a patch of weeds, he let some fall among them. He scattered his word, giving everyone the chance to take that seed and grow it.
Thank God, we have a choice. To receive or not receive. To truly hear or not to listen. To make ourselves “good soil” for the Word.
Thank God he throws that seed wherever there might be a little crack to catch it. Maybe you know what it is to feel his life inside, transforming you. Can you extend that chance to others, whether you think they’re ready or not?
Lord, as we bear the fruit you’ve given us, give us the grace to scatter our seed — not hoard it waiting for the right time or place or person. Make us willing even to lose some, for the sake of the harvest you might bring from where we least expect it.
About the author:
Sarah Christmyer is author of Becoming Women of the Word: How to Answer God’s Call with Purpose and Joy and parts of Walk in Her Sandals and Gaze Upon Jesus. She is co-developer of The Great Adventure Catholic Bible study program and writes and speaks on topics related to Scripture and the Catholic faith. Follow her blog: www.ComeIntotheWord.com.
© 2020 Sarah Christmyer
Loved this, Sarah. Hadn’t heard from you in a long while. Awesome insights.
Thank you for this view. I never thought of being the sower when hearing/reading this Gospel.
Mary, you’re welcome. It’s always a challenge to write on something so well known. Blessings!