Are You a Seed Sower or Soil Inspector?

Some of the most beautiful truths Jesus taught came by way of His parables. The stirring imagery, yet familiar objects He employed makes it easy for us to identify and understand the central message He intended. Perhaps, His most well-known parable is the “Sower and the Soils” (Matthew 13:3-23). Several spiritual lessons can be extracted from the parable, such as, we are simply to preach the word to everyone and God will provide the increase, (1 Corinthians 3:6). While we “sow the word,” we will encounter four different types of hearts that will receive the message with varying degrees of acceptance.

In addition, when I read the parable, one major point that stands out has to do with crop failure and its contributing factors. Consider, first of all, that every “sower” desires his efforts to produce something. But, if the sower never leaves the house, if he doesn’t get out and sow, then it is guaranteed he will have 100% crop failure. Secondly, all but one of the “soils” lack certain elements to insure a successful harvest, so they result in crop failure. The lesson is simple in that the condition of the heart and attitude of the individual is what makes the difference in the outcome of producing a crop. It really has nothing to do with the sower, as long as, he is doing his job as he should be. 

Unfortunately, there are many who like to add another element to Jesus’ teaching. It is something we simply do not see within the parable, nor is it something we see Jesus demonstrating in His own ministry, and that is soil inspection. Instead of just scattering the seed in every direction, like a good, obedient sower should do, some sowers want to first examine the soil before broadcasting. In other words, they want to qualify a prospect before they will share the Good News with them. They are making a decision for the potential receiver of God’s word before the prospect has ever had a chance to decide for themselves! That is the same thing as deciding not to plant seed just because it might not rain! We simply can’t know if it will or if it won’t, nor can we know how someone will respond to the Word of God. 

We are called to be seed sowers, not soil inspectors! 

Jesus never discriminated against anyone when it came to preaching truth. He never withheld the divine message from a particular group or person. Now, it is true that only a few to whom He preached would “find the narrow gate that leads to life” (Matthew 7:14), but the decision still remained to be made within the heart of the receiver. Jesus did not qualify the soil before sowing the seed. In fact, even though He certainly had the power to inspect the soil, such as in the case of Simon the Pharisee, He still allowed divine truth to have its rightful place in the “soil” of Simon’s heart (Luke 7:36-50). 

The lesson is straightforward, if God can provide the sun and rain to produce a harvest from the earthly, physical seed we sow, then He can definitely provide the increase from the spiritual seed we sow. Let’s be more concerned about sharing the Good News with anyone and everyone than discerning who should receive it or not. Let’s allow the Word to do what it is meant to do. You’ll be amazed at what God does!