Imagine if I were to walk down the aisle of your church with a bag of M and Ms. Or if you prefer, Raisinets. Just like the sower in Jesus’ story, I throw the chocolate pellets out into the congregation. Some people would receive the treat eagerly. Others will let the candy just bounce right off of them.
Back in Bible times, farmers used to waste a lot of seed. It was called broadcast farming. Seed thrown everywhere, like M&Ms from a crazy preacher. I can’t begin to explain why they did it that way. I guess there are things that we do today that are just as crazy. Why do we watch hundreds of hours of TV for just a few moments of enjoyment? Why do we post hundreds of things to Facebook or Snap Chat or maintain a Twitter feed? It all seems pretty wasteful.
Is Jesus accusing God of being wasteful? I think this is one of the points of this story, God is not a fiscal conservative. He shares his wisdom into the world in a multitude of ways… but we are too busy answering our email to notice. He broadcasts his love day by day, but we are working too hard to notice. The Bible says, he sends rain upon the just and the unjust. In other words, he throws m&ms at people whom he knows will just let them bounce off. Why? Why does God allow himself to be rejected?
I like what Anne Dillard says about nature. She says, “Nature is, above all, profligate. Don't believe them when they tell you how economical and thrifty nature is… Extravagance! Nature will try anything once.” I was in Cleveland last month and the walls of every building were coated with mayflies. These little creatures that swarm up out of the lake and then die a few days later. Such wastefulness.
Has nature been made in the image of God? Jesus likens God’s evangelism to a farmer who throws most of his seed away (Matthew 13:1-9). Some of the seed falls where there is a beaten path. The hard ground doesn’t let the seed in. This could represent the atheist. Or it could represent the person who is just pretends to be religious. It could even represent the person who is stingy and slow to share with others. Because, I believe that God is generous to the point of being wasteful, because he wants to teach us to be generous and abundant in our giving to, and our forgiveness of, others.