The Seed is the Word of God—What Encouragement!
What a tremendous source of comfort Jesus’ Parable of the Sower and the Seed is for us who want to engage others with Jesus, but often struggle with it. The encouragement is found in what Jesus calls the seed: “The seed is the Word of God” (Luke 8:11).
If we miss that truth, we will be miserable sharers of the good news, especially if our focus is centered on the sower. One whole camp of Christians does that. Their emphasis equates the sower to the correct visible church, that alone can sow the seed in the right way for there to be the proper results. How discouraging! If a successful spiritual harvest is dependent on who the sower is or how he sows, consider how downhearted we would be if the results were “poor.” Fear of making a mistake has often kept the Gospel from crossing tongue and lips of many a potential witness to waiting, wanting, wandering ears! Or if the results were “good,” then Satan can tempt us with prideful thoughts about our great accomplishment. However, when we remember that “the seed is the Word of God,” gone are our timidity and fear; gone is any false pride or false sense of security in a person or a method. What encouragement!
We can be misdirected sharers of the good news in another way, if our focus is on the soil’s growth potential. Another camp of Christians thinks that if the soil is good, the results will be good. So, they say, the soil must get itself in the right condition, welcome the seed, and rid itself of any encumbrances to growth—such as the pathway’s hardness; the pesky, thieving birds; the root-inhibiting rockiness; and the choking effects of the fearful and materialistic weeds found in one’s life. Again, how discouraging!
If the successful growth of the Kingdom of God depended on the receptors of the seed of life and salvation, then no one would be saved and no one would have life everlasting, for no one is spiritually good soil! Think of the new and heavy burden we would lay on the hearts of those we engage with Jesus if they had to become good soil first! And don’t think that the devil won’t use this emphasis to the souls’ eternal demise. For then we would be tempted to be selective: to profile, to show favoritism, to avoid the pathway, rocky, or weedy folk, while targeting only those we determine to be the good soil folk! The seed is meant for all soils because “the seed is the Word of God.” What encouragement!
As confessional Lutherans, the Lord of the Church has so graciously equipped, positioned, and poised us with the absolute best seed to engage precious souls with Jesus. For us, the parable’s main emphasis is on the effectiveness of the seed—“the seed is the Word of God.” How living, active, and powerful is the seed. Our privileged task is to be used by the Lord in sowing the seed, indiscriminately, even whimsically, on every type of soil, with everyone! The Lord Himself will bring about the results!
So, sow! Where you are, gifted as you are, sow! The growth, fruits, and results of our sharing the good news of Christ’s full and free salvation are because“the seed is the Word of God.” The Spirit, working with the seed, will succeed and accomplish what God desires when He sows through us. Both Law and Gospel will do their work. That’s encouraging!David Russow serves as a home missionary and pastor of Redeeming Grace Lutheran Church in Rogers, Minnesota, and is a member of the Board for Home Missions and Evangelism.