Reflections from the Pew 146

After the top ten Old Testament stories, we are now looking at the top ten Parables. These stories are are so well known that we sometimes forget their simple message. The top three were very close – at number 3 is The Sower.

It is found in Matt 13:1-9 which is also found in Mark’s and Luke’s gospels.

The Parable of the Sower

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.”

In this parable Jesus shows pictorially the discouragements and consolations of his own ministry. Like the prophets of old or any modern preacher or teacher, most of his hearers are unresponsive for a variety of reasons, but where the seed fell on good soil the response was out of proportion to what was sown.

With this parable normally the troubles are emphasised, but I chose the above image as it emphasises that even though a of seeds are wasted the rewards are great.

This reminds me of the statement “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half”.

This was made by John Wanamaker (1838-1922) who was a very successful United States merchant, religious leader and political figure, considered by some to be a “pioneer in marketing”. He opened one of the first and most successful department stores in the United States, which grew to 16 stores and eventually became part of Macy’s.