A Note from Pastor Bill: A Farmer Went Out to Sow

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has 24 million acres of land in the Conservation Reserve Program.  When farmers enroll their ground into the CRP and it is accepted into the program there are several pages of standards farmers need to follow when seeding their cover crops for the CRP.   The USDA allows only certain variety of seeds with certain germination requirements.  There are pages of guidelines for soil preparation, application rates, seeds per acre, fertility based on soil tests and chemicals to be used to control weeds.  The soil is carefully worked, the chemicals applied, the seed sown so that everything is just right for the soil to accept the seed and have the best conditions to grow.

Because preparation of the soil for the seed is so important one might ask why Jesus does not mention any of this when He says, “A farmer went out to sow.” Jesus makes no reference to fertility or soil preparation.  Jesus’ sowing project would not qualify under the USDA’s CRP program. Jesus’ emphasis totally on the seed appears to be a disaster just waiting to happen. 

Psalm 65, a Psalm used by farmers as they prepared to sow seed, gives us some insight into Jesus’ words, “A farmer went out to sow.”  The Psalm was used in a service of thanksgiving to God for His generosity and blessings.  But the emphasis of the Psalm was not on the service of thanksgiving but on praising God.  He is the One who gives seed to the sower and makes the seed grow.  So that already at the time of sowing the farmer was looking forward to a bountiful harvest.  All thoughts of what caused poor crops like weeds and soil problems were dismissed.   God would shower His blessings and crown the year with an abundant harvest.

Jesus in this parable is referencing the seed as the Word of God.  His Word is sown in the most unprepared and uncultivated soil.  “While we were yet sinners Christ died for us.”  Before God’s Word entered into our lives, we were nothing.  We had no thought of sin and death or forgiveness and life.  It was God who took the seed of His Word and planted His Word in our hearts.  Christ Jesus is the mystery of blessing, God’s Word now revealed in all of us.

This gives us hope as we speak God’s Word to others.  His Word going out is the preparation for others to hear and grow in their knowledge of Jesus Christ.  “A farmer went out to sow,” God bless Your sowing.  Amen.

Pastor Bill