July 25-27, 2020
Pastor Timothy J. Spaude
Text: Matthew 13:1-9; 18-23
BE A BLESSING TO YOUR NATION!
1. Be the good ground.
2. Sow the seed.
Matthew 13:1-9; 18-23 (EHV) “That same day Jesus left the house and was sitting by the sea. 2A large crowd gathered around him. So he stepped into a boat and sat down, while all the people stood on the shore. 3He told them many things in parables, saying: “Listen, a sower went out to sow. 4As he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it. 5Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil. Immediately the seed sprang up, because the soil was not deep. 6But when the sun rose, the seed was scorched. Because it had no root, it withered away. 7Other seed fell among thorns. The thorns grew up and choked it. 8But some seed fell on good ground and produced grain: some one hundred times, some sixty, and some thirty times more than was sown. 9Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear.”
At the beginning of this month we celebrated the 4th of July, Independence Day. So for the month of July in my online devotions I have been focusing on ways we can be a blessing to our nation. And our nation needs us to be a blessing. So much divisiveness. So much contention and discord. We certainly seem to have lost the ability to disagree nicely. Maybe you have found yourself just clamming up. A little frustrated. I mean, what can we do to make things better? Well, there are lots of things. Maybe go to our website and review my devotions. Today Jesus shows us how we can be a blessing in what is often called the Parable of the Sower and the Seed. Parables were teaching tools Jesus used that made a comparison with something the people would easily identify with to teach a spiritual truth that otherwise might be hard to grasp. Jesus was teaching a large crowd of people and the Parable of the Sower and the seed begins a series of parables Jesus used to help them understand how the kingdom of heaven runs. They had a hard time understanding how Jesus worked and ruled because their point of comparison was earthly kingdoms which worked far differently than the kingdom of God. For our purposes today we see how we can be a blessing to our nation.
You heard the parable. It is simple. Following best farming practices back then farmers would take a sack or container of seed, go out to their fields and spread it by hand. As they walked through fields that did not have the advantage of machine cultivation the seed would fall sometimes on a hard beaten path, no chance to take root. Sometimes on rocky soil so no chance to thrive. Sometimes among thorns that choked out the good plant. Sometimes on good ground where it grew and produced a harvest.
Often when Jesus tells a parable you have to look for the main point of comparison yourself but not here. He explains the parable for us. “So listen carefully to the parable of the sower. 19When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the Evil One comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the seed that was sown along the path. 20The seed that was sown on rocky ground is the person who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, 21yet he is not deeply rooted and does not endure. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he immediately falls away. 22The seed that was sown among the thorns is the one who hears the word, but the worry of this world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it produces no fruit. 23But the seed that was sown on the good ground is the one who continues to hear and understand the word. Indeed he continues to produce fruit: some a hundred, some sixty, and some thirty times more than was sown.”
Well there you have it! The parable is designed to teach about how the Kingdom of God works in this world. It spreads through God’s word. Someone sows the seed, teaches God’s word. Some people don’t grasp or value the word and faith never happens. The path. Some hear word and believe with joy but don’t want to take up the cross and follow Jesus, so faith dies. Rocky soil. Some take in the word but either thorns of worry fill their heart and choke away their faith or they value worldly wealth more than their faith and there is no fruit so in the end no faith. And then there is the good ground that eats up the word more and more and so there are more and more fruits of faith.
Now what does this have to do with being a blessing to our nation? First, it compels us to be the good ground. Being the good ground does not mean working harder and harder to do what is right. It means making more and more time for the word. What did Jesus say? “Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear.” And the seed that was sown on the good ground is the one who continues to hear and understand the word.” The ability to produce fruit, do good work, to be a blessing to our nation, is directly tied to continuing to hear and get understanding of the word. God takes care of the rest. The Holy Spirit does the heart changing and value changing. I ask you to take this one simple test. How are you feeling about the future? Angry? Bitter? Scared? Pessimistic? Or calm, peaceful happy, optimistic? Now think back. What have you been continuing to hear? More and more of the word or more and more of the news? “He who has ears to hear the Word, let him hear,” said Jesus. The Good News, not the evening news. The good news of the God who loves people so much He gives His one and only Son. The good news of the God who takes impossible situations like sinners who have doomed themselves to Hell and comes up with a plan to save them through the substitute of His Son. That God is in control. That God is the reason to have peace. That God is why we do not need to fear. That God is why we get to be optimistic. And people whose hearts are for God are at peace, optimistic, happy, trusting and are a blessing to their nation. They don’t sow discord, hold on to bitterness or lash out with angry words. They pull people toward Jesus.
That reminds us of the second way this parable shows us we can be a blessing to our nation. Sow the seed. That’s the picture. With the large crowds that gathered around Jesus were His disciples, the one who would be in charge of the preaching and teaching of God’s Word after Jesus ascended. There was a lesson for them about how the kingdom of God works and what their responsibility was -- and wasn’t. Later they could identify with the farmer. What was the job of the farmer? Sow the seed. Did he try to figure out what soil was best? No, he sowed the seed. Did he go back with regret and try to pick up seed from the path or rocky ground? No! He sowed the seed. Later Jesus would tell them a parable about making judgments on whether someone was a weed or grain and not to do that. Their job was simple, sow the seed. Nothing else was their job.
This is where we come in today. Sow the seed. Share God’s word. Do that personally where you can in your own sphere of influence, family, friends, co workers, neighbors, blog followers. You are here with a purpose, to be witnesses for Jesus. Sow the seed, Share the word through your church and schools and synod. Pray and support us. We don’t have to try to figure out who would be a good one to share it with. We simply need to share it. Now you might think what good does it do? People won’t listen to me. Or what about when we teach kids God’s word in our school and then shortly after Confirmation or graduation don’t see them again? So? Was that our job? To make sure they believe, listen, continue? Sow the seed. Or you may think what good does it do? I taught my kids and where are they now? So? Sow the seed. Or maybe in your judgment the nation is just too far gone away from Christianity. So? Sow the seed!
Did you follow the whole parable? Some will listen. Some will bear fruit, 30, 60, a hundred times. What a blessing for our nation when more and more hearts are changed by Christ’s love to love as we do! Someone sowed the seed in us. We are bearing fruit. It works the same way with other people. How different does America look with more and more believers in it? And you may sow the seed to someone the Lord will use to turn things around. Or that person might or that person. God makes the plans, not us. What did He say? Sow the seed.
Here’s another parable. A farmer stayed in his house and sowed no seed. None fell on the path. None fell on rocky soil. None fell among thorns. And none fell on good ground. And so nothing good happened. Brothers and sisters, God has granted to us the ability to be a blessing to our nation. He who has ears to hear, let him hear! Amen.