Recently I read a book called “Knowing who you are”. It was written by one of my SMBC lecturers – Dr Malcolm Gill –
[pre-warning: book plug coming up!]. In his book, Dr Gill explores 8 lesser-known images of our Christian identity in the Bible including: the soldier, the combatant, & the steward. I highly recommend it! [there’s the plug!]
One of the metaphors Dr Gill explores is the Christian as a farmer.
In Mark 4, Jesus turns to the familiar farming imagery as tool to teach his listeners his parable of the sower. As the story goes, the farmer sows his seed into the field and as he scatters the seed it falls on four different places. The first was the path – where the birds came and ate it before it could germinate. The second was the shallow soil – the seed sprang to life quickly, but died just as quick because it didn’t have enough root. The third was the thorny soil and, again, the seed grew, but as it grew among the thorns it was choked before it could produce fruit. And the final soil was the good soil, the soil the farmer wanted his precious seed to fall on – in this soil the seed grew up and “produced a crop, multiplying thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times” what was sown. Dr Gill explains that this imagery would be very real to Jesus’ original hearers. Ancient farmers would scatter their seeds which would fall on all sorts of places in the field and only seed in the good soil would produce the bumper crop they were after. Because of these varied soils the farmer was sowing into, the farmer would always sow the seed generously to increase his odds of a bigger harvest. He didn’t know which individual seeds would produce the desired harvest but he did know the more generously he sowed the more likely he’d get what he was after – the bumper crop!
Jesus goes on to explain that the seed is the Word of God and the farmer represents the Christian who sows this Word. And as the Word is sown, the four soils represent the four responses people will have to it. Noticeably, out of the four, only one soil produces the desired harvest but it is an incredible result “thirty, sixty, even up to a hundred times what was sown”.
As Christians, we are called to sow the Word of God into the lives of those around us. We do not know which soils these precious seeds will fall into, but we do know that when this seed finds the good soil – we will see the harvest we’re praying for. Friends, let’s sow God’s word generously to those around us. We know many will reject it, many will accept it but not embrace it, but we know – for those who receive it and embrace it such that it grows in their life – there will be incredible results for the Kingdom of God!
Your brother in Christ, Craig Stalder