By Beth Mcknight King

By Beth Mcknight King

The Sower

by Beth McKnight King

“Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them.Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time.When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word;but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.” Mark 4:15-20

When you enter the chapel on the Charlotte, North Carolina, campus of Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, your eyesare immediately captivated by the large fresco behind the altar. Titled “The Sower,” it depicts the entire Parable of the Sower (See Mark 4:1–20).

You see a young man fearfully glance at a Roman soldierwhile he reachestoward the shallow, rocky soil, struggling in the face of persecution. You notice that the attention of a beautiful woman, held by her lover, is diverted by the thorns pulling at her rich blue cloak. Others are busy gathering the abundant harvest from the good soil. Another woman, a sheaf of wheat in her arms, gazes lovingly at the sower. In the background, you become aware of darkly-cloaked Satan, retreating along the path with his birds, headed for a place of death.

When we read this parable, we search our own hearts and motives. Where is my heart so hard that the Word of God cannot even penetrate? In which circumstances am I afraid to be known as a Christian or to share God’s Word? When doeswork, a friend, pleasure, money, or my “to-do list” demand my attention, causing me to neglect even lifting my eyes to look at God? Are there other parts of my life where I can praise God—places where the seed of His Word took root, developed, grew, and bore fruit?

The fresco includes all these ideas, yet the sower himself is what dominates this work of art. Larger than life, muscular and intense, he looks as if he is about to step out of the fresco, stride down the central aisle of the chapel and out the door onto the streets of Charlotte. His bag is full of seeds; a handful is ready in his outstretched arm.

When I read this passage, it is easy to forget about the sower and focus only on the soil. But the message is clear. Have hearts tilled with good, fertile soil. Pull up the thorny bushes, excavate the rock, till the hard paths. But don’t forget about the sower, after whom the parable is named, and the seed—the Word of God. Sow it! Scatter it! Spread it liberally!

Yes, some of your words will fall on deaf ears. Some reactions will be short-lived. Others will be unfruitful. But God’s Word will not return to Him empty. It will accomplish His desires and achieve the purpose for which He sent it (See Is. 55:8–13).Some seed will produce crops, thirty, sixty, even a hundred times what you have sown.Like the song, linked below, states, “Everybody’s got a seed to sow.”

Prayer:“Father, soften my heart to accept and understand Your Word. Like the psalmist, help me to delight in Your decrees and not neglect Your Word. Direct me in the path of Your commands. Turn my heart toward Your statutes and not toward selfish gain. Turn my eyes away from worthless things, for my trust is in Your Word. When I speak of You and Your Word to others, I know I will not be put to shame, for I delight in Your commands because I love them.And I love You. (from Psalm 119) We pray in the name of the original Sower, Jesus Your Son. Amen.”

Digging Deeper:Proverbs 3:5–6; Matthew 7:1–6, 13; Luke 11:28; John 1:1–18.

Praise Song: Everybody’s Got a Seed to Sow by Michael W. Smith