We’ve been talking about Jesus as the Seed in some of the stories in the Bible. Right now, we are specifically focusing on the story of the seed that is scattered and lands in different places and the lessons this story gives us for we who are “sowers” of the seed.
Here is the story from Luke 8:4-15:
“He spoke by way of a parable: 5 “The sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell beside the road, and it was trampled under foot and the birds of the air ate it up. 6 Other seed fell on rocky soil, and as soon as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. 7 Other seed fell among the thorns; and the thorns grew up with it and choked it out. 8 Other seed fell into the good soil, and grew up, and produced a crop a hundred times as great.” As He said these things, He would call out, “ He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
9 His disciples began questioning Him as to what this parable meant. 10 And He said, “ To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is in parables, so that seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.
11 “Now the parable is this: the seed is the word of God. 12 Those beside the road are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they will not believe and be saved. 13 Those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no firm root; they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away. 14 The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity. 15 But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.”
So far we have looked at the first seed scattered that landed on the road and the second that landed in the rocky soil. Let’s look today at the third seed that landed among the thorns, and when it grew up, the thorns choked it out.
For parent-sowers, I think this one is incredibly important. That whole “be careful of your friends for you will go the direction they do” is a direct reflection of this verse. You see, some of the Jesus Seed here landed in good soil. It was so good that it raised thorn bushes–weeds that grew with no tending at all.
Now I live in Texas where very few things will grow without tending them. One of the things that will grow without tending is ironweeds (the things that turn into tumbleweeds!). Ironweed seed must be indigenous to our soil or something because if you don’t plant something in a field, guess what? You’ve got ironweeds.
Also, there’s a reason they call them “iron” weeds.
When I was young, we had pigs… and a lot of ironweeds. One of my jobs on the farm was to go out and chop ironweeds every day to feed to the pigs. I’m assuming the pigs ate them, but that wasn’t part of my job. No, instead, I took a wagon about the size of a small wheelbarrow and I was to fill it with weeds.
Now finding the ironweeds was not a problem as they were EVERYWHERE. If you didn’t drive there, walk there, or specifically plant something else there, the ironweeds would take over.
At first in the early Spring and Summer, they weren’t too hard to chop. The stalks were relatively soft. But, let me tell you, as the season went on, those things lived up to the name “iron.” I could chop, pull, push, chop, yank, pull, and they STILL wouldn’t come out!
So when I think of this verse, I always think of the ironweeds rather than thorns (as we didn’t have any of those). But here’s the other thing about the ironweeds. If you weren’t careful, they would take over something you wanted to grow in a heartbeat. A vegetable garden? Better pull those ironweeds when they are little. Flowers? Oh, yeah, in no time your little flower patch would be full of ironweeds. Even fields of cotton. If you’ve ever heard about people “chopping cotton,” you can pretty much guess that most of what they were chopping out was ironweeds.
In life, we have our own ironweeds. They are those little shoots that we don’t even see half the time until they are so rooted in our soil, we can hardly pull them out. Bad habits fall in this category. Things like overeating and alcohol can too. Maybe at first these don’t even seem like a problem, and then they start taking over.
From the sower’s perspective, much like the rocks, you are going to have to de-thorn the soil around your seeds. Notice that thorns are different than rocks. Rocks are inherent in the soil, but thorns “grow up” around the seeds in what is otherwise good soil. These are things that “just happen” in life. Maybe your seeds are doing really good–you’ve taken out the rocks of unforgiveness and anger, but then “life happens.” You get busy. You get tired. You get stressed.
These are the weeds.
For kids (and us too), the weeds can be the influence of our friends. “Why do you go to church?” “Stop being a goody-goody.” “That’s so old-fashioned. Get with the times.”
These “weed” influences must be dealt with. You can’t wish them away or hope them away. They, like those old ironweeds on my parents’ farm, need to be pulled up, chopped down, and gotten rid of however you can.
What are some of your rocks? What are some of your weeds? And what are you doing about them with your Father’s help?