Good Return on Investment
The agricultural parables of Jesus had economic implications - perhaps that is partly why they gained such an attentive audience. Good seed was expensive; sowing it, was literally throwing it away to be at the mercy of the soil and weather. So, it was especially important that most of the seed went into fertile ground. The financial return would only come after a good crop had been harvested, having survived attacks by rain, drought, cold and heat, as well as from pests and animals.
Like all of Jesus’ parables, this ‘parable of the sower’ was spoken to crowds who did not understand, because Jesus was really intriguing His trainee apostles so that they would later ask questions, and therefore better remember what Jesus was saying, and why (Luke 8:9-10). This parable was especially vital for their future work in guiding the Early Church in evangelism (Acts 1:8). Their gospel preaching would gather different responses from apathy to hostility. But this verse we are studying now gives a straightforward message: when the gospel is preached, some will receive it, love it and persevere in relationship with Jesus. If we sow the gospel seed, we will reap a harvest with Him (Psalm 126:5).
Having already stated the reasons for failed crops (Luke 8:11-14), Jesus then described the soil which would produce an abundant harvest. He likened the fertile field to people of 'noble and good heart'. It is refreshing to be reminded that the intended purpose of every human heart is to receive (hear, honour, and obey) God's Word. Without His Word we can never understand how to please God.
But it is not always easy. Jesus speaks of the need to 'persevere'. Paul wrote to Timothy: “In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.” (2 Timothy 4:1-2). Gospel work is hard but those who keep on sowing will reap. Likewise, those who receive the Word must persevere, withstanding distractions and difficulties, and refusing to be shaken. Receiving the Word must become a regular habit. We never know when we will need God's courage or wisdom; neither do we know how many problems we will avoid by being regularly obedient to His Word. Then the believer will be equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17). So whatever pressures you face, keep receiving and sowing God's Word: it is the one part of life which must never be downgraded in the priority list. If we do that, God will certainly receive a good return on all He has invested in us and we will share in His Glory.
© Dr Paul Adams