I had this thought the other day as I was contemplating the Parable of the Sower. All of a sudden it hit me. I’ve had an incomplete understanding of this passage for years. I’d left out the most important character in the parable. Every time I’ve spoken on it or heard others speak on it, there has been a disproportionate discourse regarding the traits of the soils. We spend most of our time distinguishing the differences in the soil only to forget about the one sowing. I love the way the HCSB (Holman Christian Standard Bible) translates Mark 4:3, “Consider the sower…” As Jesus is teaching, he wants us to listen, consider, ponder, and meditate on this “sower.” Who is the sower? What is his/her role? How important is the sower in this story?
Here’s what I walk away with in this parable besides the obvious. I must be careful not to miss the sower. One cannot overstate the importance of the sower in this parable. Without the sower, the discussion of the soils would be irrelevant. Without the sower, a harvest becomes a futile pursuit. As I see it, the sower is the main character in this teaching. Perhaps we should concentrate more on sowing than attempting to determine the condition of the soils.
As you consider the sower, you discover the condition of the soils doesn’t necessarily predetermine the efforts of the sower. He sows as a lifestyle. Some falls along the path, the rocky places, and thorny places – all the time not producing much of a crop. Yet some fell upon better ground and produced great crops. As you consider, this character isn’t overly concerned about the quality of the ground; He just understands the importance and urgency of his role as the sower. It’s God’s job to grow, it’s our job to sow. Sometimes I think we make inappropriate conclusions regarding the soils’ potential when God simply wants us to sow where we walk or tread – along the path or in the field.
Just remember – there’s no harvest without a sower. We can debate the soils all day long, but you can never discount the contribution of the sower.
“Lord, I want to be a sower – a liberal (generous) sower. My desire is to hold nothing back. I desire to sow your Word – the God Story. My desire is for it to be a natural outflow of every aspect of my life. May my life praise you as I sow!”