Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable?
The farmer sows the word.
Some people love surprises. Some people like to be surprised. Some people like to surprise other people. Some people just don’t like surprises at all.
I remember my mom trying to put on a surprise birthday party for me when I was little. She invited my friends and cousins over and we had to stay in the back bedroom while the adults did something else. We all knew that something was going on, but it wasn’t clear what.
This was long, long, long before cell phones, computer games, or even electronic calculators. Heck, color TV with round screens were brand, spanking new. There was nothing to do but play board games. Today, the parents might be arrested for child abuse.
When we were finally let out, there was one of my mom’s homemade cakes that was doing an outstanding imitation of a desert dessert. It had been baked within an inch of its life, and then cooked for an additional 30 minutes just to make sure it was done. While most cakes had a light, golden exterior, this one was almost black. The thick coating of vanilla icing and sprinkles did very little to hide the homemade black carbon aroma or flavor. We gladly drank lots of milk to get it down.
It's one thing to be surprised at a birthday party. But Jesus is totally surprised not at someone jumping up and yelling “Happy Birthday.” No, he’s wildly surprised at the dullness of his closest friends. You’d think that after being with him for a while that they’d pick up a few things. But apparently not.
Why was Jesus surprised at their inability to figure this out? Because their hearts are still dull when it comes to God and him. After being with Jesus, listening to Jesus, seeing how Jesus loves on people, watching him perform unbelievable miracles, they still just don’t get it. They still don’t see Jesus for who he is: God the son, and the Son of God.
This parable has the most basic ideas in it. It’s not meant to be hard. It’s not a test or a mind game. It’s the ABC’s of life. It’s the building blocks of God’s created universe. And they can’t put the pieces together.
Their failure to understand this most basic parable makes Jesus doubt if they are able to understand any others. It’s not like Jesus is asking them to learn to play chess. No, he’s just telling them about checkers where all the pieces look and act the same. With checkers, the game and moves are right there in front of you.
Jesus is saying that to understand the parable of the Sower, is to understand all the parables. And the parable of the Sower begins with the spreading of God’s word. There is no step two, three, or anything else without God’s word being shared. Nothing happens without his word being spread all around.
You can have all the great ideas you want. You can have all the exciting programs possible. You have the latest technology available. You can even have all the funding and resources imaginable. But you never get started without spreading of God’s word. It all starts with these two things.
· God’s word – there’s no substitute when it comes to growth and change. God’s word, and his word alone is the one and only thing that makes change possible. His word gives the truth about who God is, the way life is, the way things and people were made.
· Sowing – God’s word doesn’t grow anything; it doesn’t do anything unless it gets spread. God’s word was designed to be sown, to be spread, to be shared. It was never meant to be kept hidden in a seed packet. Behind thick walls. It wasn’t designed to be kept quiet inside. It always has and always will need to be shared.
So, how are you doing when it comes to spending time, energy, and attention to God’s word? Are you doing anything? Are you reading a daily devotion for two minutes? Or are you investing significant time and energy into God’s word? Are you giving him your full attention, for a meaningful amount of time?
Look at it this way: how much time, money, and energy do you put into eating? And that’s for your body with an expiration date that’s ticking closer and closer.
And how’s your sowing doing? All you have to do is to share what you have. You don’t need a pulpit. You don’t need a street corner. You don’t need a website. All you need are some friends and neighbors, people right next to you. And you start sowing there
You need to get started now. Get into God’s word in a meaningful way on a daily basis. And start sharing whatever you know with the people around you.
This is where life starts for you.