Archive for March, 2021

Luke 8:9-15

March 3, 2021

Then his disciples asked him what this parable meant. He said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God; but to others I speak in parables, so that ‘looking they may not perceive, and listening they may not understand.’

“Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. The ones on the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.

The ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe only for a while and in a time of testing fall away.

As for what fell among the thorns, these are the ones who hear; but as they go on their way, they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature.

But as for that in the good soil, these are the ones who, when they hear the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patient endurance. Luke 8:9-15

Luke has drawn us in to this exchange between Jesus and his disciples by Jesus telling those disciples that they alone are getting some special insider information. As we read this, we are overhearing their conversation. This is a set up that assures us that we’re not being left out. What Jesus is communicating ought to be clear to us.

We are not among those who “‘looking they may not perceive, and listening they may not understand.’ So why does it still feel like we are?

Jesus says that the seed is the word of God. He isn’t referring to the Bible as we know it. Remember that Jesus is speaking to a group of illiterate peasants for whom access to the written word of God is limited to public places of worship. They don’t have a Bible sitting on a shelf at home. So the word of God includes the written records of people of faith but it must go beyond that.

The word of God also includes the living word of God, Jesus. So the seed is what the disciples are seeing Jesus do, and hearing Jesus teach. The word of God is the living will of God in action.

And Jesus is right. There are reasons why sometimes people just don’t get it. And THAT is why it feels like we – who ought to know better given the insider information we have been given – are also among those who don’t always get it either.

I look back through the twisted paths of my own life and it is clear that I have been both receptive and unreceptive to God’s word/will along the way. My life demonstrates moments when I’ve been the path, the rocks, and the thorns. And, sometimes, when I’ve proven good soil. I think that is how it is with all of us who are honest.

But I also think we react to this just like those first disciples did – for they too probably had moments like ours – but they knew that their goal was to strive toward being good soil.

The Christian faith isn’t based on fate. No matter how many times you hear that “God is in control” or that “God has a plan”, the reality is that we aren’t robots. We aren’t pawns in a grand game. We are children of God. We have the power to make choices. We can make up our minds and we can change our minds. We live in this tension.

As Luther would say, “the devil, the world, and our sinful selves” constantly tempts us to stray, but the Holy Spirit is also always at work in us, seeing that the seed takes root, and produces an abundant harvest.

Let us pray: Dear Lord, make us good soil. Keep us focused on your will, your way, your Word. Forgive us for those times when we are scattered, disobedient, and distracted. We want to be good soil. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


Luke 8:4-8

March 1, 2021

When a great crowd gathered and people from town after town came to him, he said in a parable: “A sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell on the path and was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. Some fell on the rock; and as it grew up, it withered for lack of moisture. Some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew with it and choked it. Some fell into good soil, and when it grew, it produced a hundredfold.”

As he said this, he called out, “Let anyone with ears to hear listen!” Luke 8:4-8

“Feedback” is an interesting word. There are times when it is a bad thing (no one appreciates the schreeching of an unbalanced middle school auditorium sound system), and there are times (when people give us feedback regarding something we have said or done) when it’s a good thing. On balance, feedback is a good thing.

Jesus tells a parable of a careless sower who haphazardly scattered his seed. He wasn’t at all careful. There really isn’t an excuse for wasting precious seed by throwing it on a walking path. That is the first thing anyone who has ever planted seeds would notice.

But then comes the feedback.

Some feedback came quickly. Birds didn’t take long to let the sower know that the seeds sown on the path were wasted.

Some of it took some time. The “let’s take some time to see how things are working out” nature of farming meant that it would be awhile before the straggly plants among the rocks, or the choked out plants among the thorns, would die. Oops.

But the seeds planted in good soil? They flourished and produced an abundant harvest. Possibly a good enough harvest to cover the previously wasted seed. The story has a happy ending.

Let anyone with ears to hear listen!” is an interesting way to end a story. Jesus isn’t making a point that we have to get right, he’s painting a picture and inviting us to enter. Tomorrow we will hear more about this story.

For now, just know that the varieties of feedback portrayed in this story sound a lot more like life as we know it than a culture of “I want it NOW!” allows for. Sometimes we get immediate feedback – but far more often, and for the most important things in life, we have to wait a long time before we see the fruits of our efforts. Hang in there.

Let us pray: Gracious Lord, the extravagant generosity of your love reaches even to the thorniest areas of our lives. Today we need both perseverance and patience as we all do what only we can do in the little corners of the garden which you have entrusted to us. We pray for a good harvest. In Jesus’ name. Amen.