Funny Kind of Farming

Matthew 13:1-9
Listen! A sower went out to sow... - Jesus

Back in Bible times, farmers wasted a lot of seed. It was called broadcast farming. The seed is thrown everywhere. 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 maintain a Twitter feed? It all seems pretty wasteful.

Is Jesus accusing God of being wasteful? Obviously, 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. 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 year 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 simply be the folk who say that they don’t have time to be spiritual. We are now in the midst of summer and a pandemic. The very atmosphere seems to be saying, “take your time. Breathe slowly. Wear a mask. Stay at home. Read a book.” This should be good for our souls, but we are like seeds sown among weeds. We are choked by our self-pity about not being able to do all the things we want to do. Some seeds seem to grow quickly only to wilt because they lack roots. Some people seem to quickly get into the best colleges and end up with jobs that pay well. Suddenly, we are all worrying about the economy. People without a root in common sense dry up and die. They aren’t ready to face hardships. 

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. But Jesus also tells stories to warn us that the world ain’t a friendly place to our souls. We need to make the best of where we are planted by giving our attention and time to spiritual matters.

Flowers and insects are far more beautiful than they need to be
Pentecost 6