Anybody who has visited my house knows I like to garden. A few years ago, my husband and daughter built me a greenhouse so I can start my plants from seed. Each precious seed is carefully placed in prepared soil and carefully nurtured to grow strong before being transplanted into the garden to grow up and produce a harvest.
Recently I’ve been rereading the Parable of the Sower (or maybe better called the Parable of the Soils) from Matthew 13.
"That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 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.”
(I encourage you to finish reading the rest of the parable on your own.)
What is startling to me in this parable is the complete disregard of the sower for all the seed that is wasted. No gardener deliberately throws seed on the path, or amongst weeds, or on rocky ground. Seed is reserved for fertile soil.
So why is this sower apparently happy to waste so much seed?
Perhaps it's because, while the seed is indeed precious, it's not in short supply. Instead, for this sower planting seeds in all the good soil, wherever it might be, is what is truly important.
The mystery of this parable is that the nature of the soil is ‘discovered’ by whether it is fruitful AFTER the seed is sown. Scattering seeds around, apparently without any hindrance, is the best way to discover good soil. Think about that.
Can I encourage you to ‘waste seed’ as you interact with lost people around you? Don’t try to assess the fertility of the soil before you sow.
Just toss gospel seed out there and see what grows.
May we all be blessed with an abundant harvest.
*This article was originally published in the Loving Muslims Together monthly digest newsletter and has been republished with permission.
Lorna Johnston is the Diaspora Ministries Leader at Outreach Canada. She leads two national teams--Loving Muslims Together (LMT) and Simply Mobilizing Canada (SMC). She works with teams of diverse and experienced leaders and ministries across Canada to alert and activate the church in Canada to the changing opportunities to engage God's mission right here in Canada.