July 13

Reflection

“ Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.
Whoever has ears, let them hear.”
Matthew 13:1-9

If we are honest with ourselves, we can probably find evidence of several kinds of soil in our lives and in our congregations on any given day. It is noteworthy that Jesus does not use the parable to exhort hearers to “be good soil,” as though we could make that happen. If there is any hope for the unproductive soil, it is that the sower keeps sowing generously, extravagantly, even in the least promising places. Jesus’ investment in his disciples shows that he simply will not give up on them, in spite of their many failings. We trust that he will not give up on us either, but will keep working on whatever is hardened, rocky, or thorny within and among us. We trust in his promise to be with us to the end of the age.

As those entrusted with Jesus’ mission today, we might consider the implications of this parable for how we engage in mission. Too often we play it safe, sowing the word only where we are confident it will be well received, and only where those who receive it are likely to become contributing members of our congregations. In the name of stewardship, we hold tightly to our resources, wanting to make sure that nothing is wasted. We stifle creativity and energy for mission, resisting new ideas for fear they might not work — as though mistakes or failure were to be avoided at all costs.

Jesus’ approach to mission is quite at odds with our play-it-safe instincts. He gives us freedom to take risks for the sake of the gospel. He endorses extravagant generosity in sowing the word, even in perilous places. Though we may wonder about the wisdom or efficiency of his methods, Jesus promises that the end result will be a bumper crop.

Elizabeth Johnson, Excerpt from Commentary on Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23

Prayer

May I always hear the word and try to follow the message.

Action

Read this parable. How does each example apply to you?

Suggested Reading

Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. 5Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Let anyone with ears listen!”
Matthew 13:1-9

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My life is my message.
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Once you say you’re going to settle for second, that’s what happens to you in life.
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Don’t go through life, grow through life.
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The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge.
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Life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it.
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Life in abundance comes only through great love.
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