Jesus talked a lot about seeds while He was on Earth. To put these stories into context, know that Jesus lived in a time when the Romans controlled the area He lived in, and the Jews were looking for the Messiah. Here, Jesus was talking to a crowd of people who were questioning Him on why He spent so much time with people who weren’t like them–they weren’t a part of the in crowd. They even accused Jesus of being of the devil! So Jesus showed them who He really was and what He came to do in their lives through a few stories:
Matthew 13:3-9—“Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds. As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them. Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots, they died. Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants. Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted! Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”
In Matthew 13:18-23, Jesus did something He didn’t always do when He told parable: He gave the meaning behind it: “Now listen to the explanation of the parable about the farmer planting seeds: The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message about the Kingdom and don’t understand it. Then the evil one comes and snatches away the seed that was planted in their hearts. The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word.
The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced. The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”
The Kingdom of God is for everybody, but not everyone is going to receive the seed of the Good News and enter into the Kingdom. It’s not our job to be soul examiners, looking around to decide for ourselves who should hear the Good News, but to be seed spreaders, scattering seeds wherever we go. How many of us are willing to go sow seeds in places where the people don’t look, act, or sound like us? Maybe they’re a lot younger or older than us. Maybe they have a different skin color, ethnic background, financial status, or social class than us. None of those things held Jesus back from touching the lives of people unlike Him.
In Jesus’ day, the Jews and the Samaritans hated each other, but despite the animosity between their people, Jesus reached across ethnic and gender lines to talk with a Samaritan woman with love and compassion. And, He called out the Jewish religious leaders of the time for having hard hearts despite all of their knowledge. Who someone was or what they had or had not done never kept Jesus from reaching out to them.
Don’t just hold on to the seeds, wandering around and looking for the best place to plant them. Remember, the seeds come from God, so it is always good and always plentiful. The seeds will never run out so spread them everywhere. Believe the promise of hope and an eternal future, because God has said that there is a great harvest coming.