Read Luke 8: 1-15
Jesus’ earthly parable/story (with a heavenly meaning) drew on a rich agricultural image with which his hearers were all familiar. This image was a man with a seed bag tied to his waist, walking his field casting the seed. ‘Seed” here was a proper and powerful symbol of the Word of God springing to life – an infinite potential for life. The “Sower” is of course, Jesus Christ and anyone else who puts forth God’s Word – whether in preaching or personal conversation. The “soil” represents the varying conditions of the human hearts on which the seed is tossed.
In this parable, as the Sower casted his seed – some seeds fall on the path and the birds flutter down and steal it away. He casts again, and it lands on rocky soil, where it quickly sprouts, only to wilt away in the hot sun. The Sower throws seed in another direction, and it falls among thorns, where it is choked, and growth is strangled - and finally seed is tossed into good soil, where it incredibly multiplies one hundred times!
Jesus explained this parable when he was alone with his followers. Essentially there were then, and are today, four kinds of hearts that hear God’s Word. For this blog, we will refer to them as hard hearts, shallow hearts, contaminated hearts, and good hearts.
Hard Hearts: These hearts are as hard as nails and dulled by the busyness of life. As the truth bounces on the hardened surface of their lives, Satan comes with a fluttering interest and flies away with the life-giving seed.
Shallow Hearts: Those who make an emotional (yet shallow) response to Christ. A response that never truly penetrated the heart. When affliction comes, there is immediate rejection. Very often, these individuals can become the biggest enemies of the faith. They for a time have tasted God’s power in their life but when falling away - they become bitter and remain lost.
Contaminated Hearts: A divided heart, contaminated by opposing loyalties. This heart makes gestures toward Christ – but life’s cares draw it back, making it very difficult for authentic spiritual concern. Life’s riches and pleasures lure the soul away from life in Christ.
Good Hearts: Jesus explained that in the good soil, they are those who hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience. It is a heart that allows God’s Word to take deep root within it. It then produces a harvest of good character – the fruits of the Spirit. This is followed by a bounty of good works as the heart is remade by Jesus Christ.
Questions for continued reflection over the next several weeks, as we continue our discernment as a church body.
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.