What the Parable of the Sower Doesn’t Mean

I’m sure that I’m not bursting the bubble of many of my readers by suggesting this, but let’s start out our discussion of the meat of the Parable of the Sower by talking about what it is not suggesting.  The Parable of the Sower is not a call to “be good soil.”

There, I said it.  I feel better, don’t you?

There is nothing that soil can do, in and of itself, to be better.  In fact, even “good soil” still must rely on outside factors to maintain goodness and foster growth.  The most nutrient rich soil, which only gets that way thanks to the breaking down of organic material to create fertilizer, can’t support even a mustard seed without water.  Soil can’t produce water, it must come from either springs below or rain and snow above.  The proper amount of sunlight is also required for good soil to produce a good yield, which is also related to the need for a suitable ambient temperature for growth.  And sometimes, given the right amount of water, proper nutrients, and a reasonable temperate, even Alabama Clay can produce prodigious yields.

Let’s review.  Good soil requires the right balance of nutrients, water, sun, and temperature in order to produce good yields.  Soil can’t ensure any of those things, but rather must rely on outside sources.  Good soil, therefore, is a gift of grace.  Good soil that actually produces something, is a double portion.  You can’t make yourself into good soil.  Period.  End of story.

The Parable of the Sower, as the name would imply, really has nothing to do with the soil, but it is all about the sower who is downright reckless in tossing seed.  More on that tomorrow.

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