The Parable of the Sower

Matthew 13:1-23


by Erika Bumanlag, 4th year, AB Christian Education Major




“Magtanim ay di biro, maghapong nakayuko, di man lang makatayo, di manlang makaupo, magtanim di biro maghapong nayuko, di manlang makatayo, di manlang makaupo.” This is a very familiar Philippine song about the farmers who really work so hard sowing seeds in the field in any season. Who among you here knows what it feels like to be a farmer? Perhaps you have experienced it. In our province in Nueva Ecija which was the rice granary of the Philippines before, there are wide lands for farming and lots of farmers too. You can actually distinguish them because most of them have tan skin as a result of their work under the heat of the sun. Through all the hardships that they have,a harvest can give them joy even though we know that they do not own most of the land.It shows that they are not working for themselves alone. Without the farmers, are we going to have grains or rice? In other words, we are all benefiting with their hardship. Now, I ask you- are you willing to be farmer for the benefit of other people?


Problem in the Bible


The Parable of the Sower has different accounts. In Matthew, it will be found in Chapter 13; in Mark, Chapter 4 and in Luke, Chapter 8- and all of them have the explanation of the parable in the succeeding verse. The creativity of Jesus always appears when He’s preaching through parables. Why? Because through this, the people who are listening can reflect and can put themselves in the situation of the character and can open themselves to what Jesus wants to convey.


From the text, it says that there was a “man” or in other version of the bible, a “farmer” who scattered seeds on the field who fell in four different places- (let’s see the pictures in the slide) along the path, on the rocky ground, among the thorn bushes, and in the good soil. When I’m digging deep on what had happened in this parable, I asked myself,“Didn’t the farmer know in which soil the seed will grow? Because if so, why did he continue to scatter it to those soilor ground? Even though we are not farmers, we can somehow recognize where the seed would grow among those four, right? How much more the farmer? But He still did. The seed that fell along the path was just eaten by the bird that came. The seed that fell on the rocky ground, sprouted but burned when the sun came and because the root had not grown deep enough, it dried up. The seed that fell among the thorn bushes choked the plant. And the seed that fell on good soil produced a hundred, sixty and thirty grains. Out of four, three resulted in a bad situation of the seed.


Problem in the World


Have you experienced riding on a bus and then suddenly there is a person will speak of God’s word? When I experienced that, I listen to her for a while. I somehow admire her confidence to stand in front of people who she didn’t even know just to share God’s word. Then, I look around to other passengers, like me, few are listening, some are ignoring her, some are still sleeping, some are disagreeing with what she shares.


In that situation, I see that in some way, the characteristics of the three different grounds can be compared to the characteristics of human. The path- is a person that is not open for something that he doesn’t want to absorb; difficult to deal with and refuses to change. The Rocky ground is a person who is difficult to move and might be mentally confused. The Thorn Bushes is a person that easily blocks or stops something that he doesn’t want or isn’t interest with. And the Good soil is a person who’s willing to accept, to nurture and to produce something good. Of course if there is soil, there’s also a seed- the seeds here represent the word of God which are scattered to different kinds of people.


As God gives us His words, we can freely choose what we are going to do- either reject it; accept but later forget it; ponder with it but some time later overlook it with other matters or accept, ponder and be nurtured with it. Can you think now which of the soils are you representing?


Grace in the Bible


I asked a while back why the farmer did scatter the seeds in the ground where he knows that it will not grow. This gives us an insight that Jesus, who act as a farmer here, opens His word to all of us. God’s word knows no boundaries. It is not only for people who are willing to accept His words, it is not only for the righteous and for the church people who study the word everyday, it is not only for our Christian friends and relatives. Even the wicked, the people who don’t know God, the people who rejects His words, whoever we are, His words are available always for us.


We can lean on God’s words always- for instance, if we are suffering from financial obligations, His words and promises serves as our strength and hope; when we have problems with our requirements, assignments and piano lessons, His words bring courage for us to continue striving; even when we have the problem with our families, we find comfort and courage in His words alone. These are only some of the situations where God’s word is always present to deliver us from darkness to light.


Let us be mindful that His words are free, it is the only thing that gives life to us that costs nothing. It just requires acceptance and living with it.


Grace in the World


At the beginning of my sermon, I asked if, one of these days, are there people here in the congregation who are willing to be a farmer- a farmer like Jesus who will open His words to all the people with no boundaries. To the people who doesn’t know God yet; to the people who are in the market busy doing their business and are not able to hear any of God’s word; to the young people who are addicted to different vices and conformed with this world; to the people who are in pain because of sickness, to the people who are grieving from loss of loved ones and to the people who needs to be lifted.


It is important that before we become a farmer, we assess ourselves if we are a good soil. This is similar to what we always hear, “we can’t give what we don’t have”, we can’t share God’s word if we don’t have it in our hearts and minds. On the other hand, as we go through our sowing of God’s word to other people, we may possibly encounter different kinds of soil. People will probably reject us when they hear us speaking verses to them or share our experiences about God to them; others may laugh at us; some will debate with us; more will listen but will forget what we have said after. Maybe we are afraid to face these situations. But like Jesus again, though He came across in many rejections, many disappointments, many sufferings because of God’s word, He didn’t stop until the good soil produced hundreds of grains; until you and I harvest souls for God’s glory. It is not easy, many hindrances are waiting but we will surely reap what we sow.


God’s word knows no boundaries. If we are living with God today because of His words that we have heard, accepted, and nurtured, will you missed the chance to let others live the way you are living now? Again, God’s word knows no boundaries. If we are living with God today because of His words that we have heard, accepted, and nurtured, will you missed the chance to let others live the way you are living now?
The name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, AMEN.