The Reckless Farmer

Scattering-seed-to-the-windMark: According to

Part 21

Mark 4:1-20

The Reckless Farmer

Christ often employed the use of stories or parables when teaching the people. Sometimes these parables were easy to understand and at other times they gave great truths yet were shrouded making it difficult for the common person to understand. This does not mean Christ was trying to hide information from his listeners, but rather to cause them to search for the true meaning.

When speaking in parables, he used the language of the people and things that were common to them or used things found in nature to explain these great truths.

In an Aquarian society, the following parable would have made an impact, and they all should have had great understanding for Christ used the parable of a farmer who was sewing seed. Let’s pick up the story in verse three of Mark chapter four: “Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow.”

It took an old farmer to explain this for me to fully understand. That’s the problem when we don’t live in the same society in which the story was for, we often fail to fully comprehend what is being stated.

This old farmer explained it to me this way. When the harvest was collected, the grain or whatever was being harvested was divided up into three piles. The first to be separated out was the tithe. Ten percent of what was harvest was separated out and given to the priests in the temple to support them and their families. A true believer would separate out this 10 percent without regard to quality but often they chose the best to return unto God in support of the priests and Levites. After 10 percent was removed and carefully stored so that it could be returned to God, they would next separate out the best of what was left. The idea was to plant only the best so that next year’s harvest would be just as great. If you take the worse of the harvest and plant it, then your chance of getting good quality grain in the next harvest would be vastly reduced.

The grain that remained you were free to use as you wish, to trade it for goods and services or save it out and use it to feed your own family. And of course, to share with those that were less fortunate than you. In this instance Christ is not talking about the ten percent that was returned to God or the portion left to be used to help others and feed and care for your own body. He is referring to those seeds that have been set aside, the best of the crop to be used to replant at the beginning of the next growing season.

Since these seed used for next year’s crop were so valuable they would be carefully guarded against anything that would threaten it.  For without a good crop, the harvest would be small, and they would suffer famine.

So, what happens next in the parable comes as a surprise to those that care for the seed and carefully plant it being sure not to waist a seed.

4 And it happened, as he sowed, that some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds of the air came and devoured it. 5 Some fell on stony ground, where it did not have much earth; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of earth. 6 But when the sun was up it was scorched, and because it had no root it withered away. 7 And some seed fell among thorns; and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no crop. 8 But other seed fell on good ground and yielded a crop that sprang up, increased and produced: some thirty-fold, some sixty, and some a hundred.” 9 And he said to them, “He who has ears to hear, let Him hear!”

The parable looks straight enough and simple enough that all could understand. Yet, Jesus’ own disciples failed to understand. Earlier I mentioned that the seed to be used for replanting were carefully guarded lest they be ruined and wasted causing the family to be without sufficient food. Yet as we read the parable together it would appear our farmer sowed seed in a reckless manner allowing the seed to fall where they may. No thought or direction was given as to where the seed should be sown. Consequently, it appears valuable resources were squandered and lost.

I also found it interesting that the parable never mentions the word seeds but instead uses the singular word seed. The seed represents Christ and the gospel message that is sowed among those that are here upon the earth. As it says in verse 14, “The sower sows the word.” And throughout scripture the word is representative of Christ. As stated in John 1:1-3; “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him and without Him nothing was made that was made.”

So the seed that fell is the Word of God, the gospel message which is sown among the people of this world. There are four types of people that receive the gospel message. Before we get to that there is one more thing to point out about the sower. In God’s original plan, the gospel message was to be spread throughout the world by the Israelite nation. Since they failed, Christ came to earth to himself spread the seed of the gospel, but now that Christ has died on the cross, been resurrected and ascended to heaven, he has left the job of sowing to His faithful followers here on earth. The seed is spread by you and me but it is the purpose of the Holy Spirit to water and shed light upon those that have received the seed of the gospel. The Holy Spirit can even use you and me to help water and nourish the seed that has been sown.

But the seed of the gospel that has been thrown far and wide falls upon four different kinds of soil. Soil of course represents the hearts of those that hear the gospel message.

The first group, where the seed fell upon the wayside. Because of all the foot traffic upon the wayside the earth was packed and hard. Although the gospel may have sprouted, most of the seeds of gospel message are eaten by Satan that comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts. The lust of the things of the world are such that the gospel message does not have a chance to grow. They see and fell no need for a relationship with Christ and so any seed that remains if it should sprout will soon, die.

The second group are those whose heart is like stony ground. The seed of the gospel may fall through a crack, sprout and take root, but there is little water and the when the sun reaches its peak it soon bakes the tender sprouts, causing it to soon wither and die. This group also allows the temptations of the world to take away the nourishment and the water necessary for sufficient growth. This group for a while may even attend church, but they are unable to sink their roots deep into the nourishing earth of the gospel message.

This brings us to the third group which is the seed that falls among the thistles and as the tender sprout and the thistle grow together the thistle which grows faster soon chokes out the tender sprout choking off its source to living water and the nourishment housed within the gospel message. It is the cares of the world the deceitfulness of riches and desires for other things entering into their heart that chokes off the good news of the gospel.

But there are gospel seed that falls upon soil that has been carefully prepared, soil that has been enriched with fertilizer and has an ample supply of living water, sunlight. In these hearts the gospel message grows, sinking roots deep in the rich soil of the gospel, drinking up the living water until they mature, ripen and produce fruit. Fruit that will be used to spread more seed of the gospel to others.

It is cycle that should continue until Christ’s second coming.

Isn’t it interesting that the same principles that govern the sowing of seed upon this world are the same as that which govern the sowing of the seeds of gospel truth. God desires servant leaders to selflessly spread the seed of hope, to a world starving for need of the gospel. Will you be one of his faithful servant leaders.

Published by The Bible In Your Hand

Hi, I am Pastor Lester Bentley, a devoted husband, father, and Pastor for the Northeastern Wyoming District of the Rocky Mountain Conference of Seventh-day Adventist. I am committed to the great gospel commission as stated in Matthew 28:19, 20.

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