The Parable of the Sower
In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus takes a complicated idea and speaks to us in the simple form of a parable. He uses the sower and his seed to illustrate His point. Listen to this short parable, and think about your own heart and consider how hard --- or how fertile it might be to the word of God.
"A sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell along the path, and was trodden under foot, and the birds of the air devoured it. And some fell on the rock; and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns grew with it and choked it. And some fell into good soil and grew, and yielded a hundredfold. As he said this, he called out, ‘He who has ears to hear, let him hear ( Luke 8:5-8 )."
The Sower is Jesus and the seed is the word of God. The ground is our heart, where the word of God tries to take root. The path, the rock, the thorns and the fertile soil represent the condition in which the word finds our heart.
Is our heart like the hard-trodden soil of the path? How many times have we heard the teachings of Christ on how to live a good Christian life -- and not followed them?
We know that we should pray every day; fast on Wednesdays and Fridays; respect God’s creation; prepare for and receive Communion often; and treat our fellow human beings with love, honesty and respect. We know these things -- yet we don’t always do them.
Is our heart hardened like the rock? Do we receive the word of God with joy, but it takes no root, and after a quick initial growth spurt, our faith dries up and we fall away?
Those who are like the rock are believers who come to Church regularly. They hear the word of God and rejoice in the news. They have great intentions. They want to do what is right -- but the temptation is too great. The word takes no root and withers away.
Is our heart like the thorny ground? Do we hear God’s message, only to have it choked out by the cares of life?
People whose heart is like the thorny ground are those who attempt to “serve two masters.” The thorns of this life: greed, money, passions and other excesses, choke out God’s message.
And then Jesus said, “And as for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bring forth fruit with patience ( Luke 8:15 ).”
This is the “good soil” we all strive to be. The word of God -- the seed -- falls on the good soil of our heart, the soil that has been tilled with Christ, fertilized with the teachings of the Church and watered with the Holy Spirit. When our hearts are fertile soil -- we can openly and honestly receive blessings from our Lord. If we “root” ourselves in Him, then like a tree with deep roots, will be able to weather any storm
Our hearts will be fertile ground if we center our lives in Christ. If we pray, fast, and do good, we know that Jesus will be with is with us and that we are being used as His instruments.
Fr. Mark A. Leondis is the National Director of the Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. He also teaches Religious Education and Youth Ministry at Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in Crestwood, New York. He currently resides in New York with his family.