Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23
At about that same time [when his family came requesting him
to come away from the crowd and Jesus said those with whom is
was gathered were his family] Jesus left the house and sat on
the beach. In no time at all a crowd gathered along the shoreline,
forcing him to get into a boat. Using the boat as a pulpit, he
addressed his congregation, telling stories.
"What do you make of this? A farmer planted seed. As he
scattered the seed, some of it fell on the road, and birds ate
it. Some fell in the gravel; it sprouted quickly but didn't put
down roots, so when the sun came up it withered just as quickly.
Some fell in the weeds; as it came up, it was strangled by the
weeds. Some fell on good earth, and produced a harvest beyond
his wildest dreams.
"Are you listening to this?
"Study this story of the farmer planting seed. When anyone
hears news of the kingdom and doesn't take it in, it just remains
on the surface, and so the Evil One comes along and plucks it
right out of that person's heart. This is the seed the farmer
scatters on the road.
"The seed cast in the gravel-this is the person who hears
and instantly responds with enthusiasm. But there is no soil
of character, and so when the emotions wear off and some difficulty
arrives, there is nothing to show for it.
"The seed cast in the weeds is the person who hears the
kingdom news, but weeds of worry and illusions about getting
more and wanting everything under the sun strangle what was heard,
and nothing comes of it.
"The seed cast on good earth is the person who hears and
takes in the News, and then produces a harvest beyond his wildest
The missing section has the question about what the initial story
means. So often we say what we want to say and then we interpret
it, whether an inquiring mind wants to know or not. If we simply
leave things with statement and interpretation we are no better
It is important to listen for the questions people have. Without
that we are simply into crass propaganda rather than helpful
propaganda. If we do not leave people with questions they can
ask we have not been successful in helping to move them along
Was Jesus still thinking about the encounter he had with his
family of origin and his family of GOD-investigators when he
tells this story? Or is Matthew just stringing stories together
and we are off on another series of stories?
Was his family of origin the strangled seed. What strangles families
and hometown from the GOD-children and prophets in their midst?
What is your own experience in this regard?
Have you found the blessings of being a part of a search party
for meaning to bring a harvest beyond your wildest dreams? If
so are you continuing in such a search party or have you let
it lapse and it is time to again open yourself to being in the
best receptive mode you can be?
Are you listening to this? Really listening? That means wrestling
with the material both on your own and in community.
Or, are you simply waiting for some explanation and you'll take
what you are given by whomever you accept as an authority? I'm
willing to bet that all given answers will eventually strangle
you. [Really listening is better.]
Homepage | Sermon Prep