The parable of the sower is a good example for us of what it means to grow in the Lord. The soil of our souls greets the seed of God’s Word differently, according to its condition. The rocky soil does not let the seed of God’s Word take root and grow. The rocks are indifference and apathy. The thorny soil lets the seed grow at first, but then the thorns of life choke the seed out and prevent it from growing. The thorns are the worries, tasks and troubles of the day. The good soil lets the seed take root and grow fully. The good soil is enriched with prayer, Bible reading and devotions. When we are living in the good soil, our faith grows, the fruits of the spirit ripen and our belief in Christ deepens.
I recently attended the Best Practices in Ministry conference at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, in Columbus, IN. One of the breakout sessions was led by Lou Jander, a retired teacher and church leader. He and his wife Martha have a ministry called Sow the Word. Their mission is to give a booklet of the entire Gospel of John to as many people as they can.
In their travels, they have given the Gospel of John to waiters, bus drivers, store clerks, gas station attendants, whomever they meet along their way.
Lou talked about the fact that he and his wife serve simply as sowers of the seed, as in the parable of the sower. When you look closely at that parable, Jander said, you see that the sower simply sowed the seed with the expectation that not all the seeds would “take.” Some would fall on rocky, thorny or dry soil and not take root. That was just part of the reality of “broadcast” farming in those days. But what seeds did take root would produce greatly, the parable says, “yielding thirtyfold, sixtyfold and a hundredfold” (Mark 4:8).