“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” George Orwell

Monday, May 17, 2021

Sow what? A different perspective on the parable of the sower


Galatians 6:7 -  Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.

A farmer was having trouble with a crop that he was attempting to grow. In desperation, he called the county agricultural office who promptly sent an expert to help him solve his problem.
     “Thank you so much for coming!”
     “We are here to help. What seems to be the problem?”
     “Well, it’s like my field isn’t producing the right crop. I plant the seeds, but never get exactly what I have planted.” The farmer rubbed his chin. “I don’t’ know what is wrong.”
     The expert began to walk through the field as the spoke.
     The farmer continued. “I know the story about the seed falling on rocky ground but as you can see, no rocky ground here. And also about the birds eating the seeds or the weeds choking them out. The birds are always a challenge, but they wouldn’t cause the kind of problem we are having. As you can see, the crop itself looks pretty pure. Not a lot of weeds growing up.”
     “What exactly are you planting?” asked the expert.
     “Oh, just wheat.”
     The expert knelt down to the plants. He brushed his hand across the top of the stubby, short growing, green blades. He picked a few of and studied them.
     Watching the expert, the farmer continued, “The only thing I can figure is that there must be something wrong with the soil. Why wouldn’t it grow, why wouldn’t it produce the right thing, the thing I am planting?”
     The expert took off his hat and scratched his head. “You say you are trying to grow wheat?”
     “Yep. Have been trying to grow it for years. Always get the same result. Most of the farms around here have the same problem. At Friday morning coffee we get together and can’t understand what is up. I mean we all get our seed from the same place. They have a self-service kind of an operation, so we pick out our own seed that we plant.”
     The expert reached down and pulled up a small plant from the field. “Look at this plant” he said as he held it out to the farmer. "Forget about what you are trying to grow and tell me what this plant looks like.”
     “Well, yeah. It looks like grass to me. But all the other farmers are producing the same kind of plants.”
      The farmer stood silently.
     “Let me see you seeds.”
     The farmer reached into a bag, pulled out a handful, and held out his palm covered with the seed.
     The expert shook his head and scoffed. “This is grass seed! It looks a little like wheat, but you aren’t getting wheat because you aren’t planting wheat.”
     “C’mon, you are a farmer. At least I thought you were a farmer. You want wheat to grow, you need to plant wheat seeds. You can’t plant grass seed and expect wheat to grow.”
     The farmer just stared surprised at the expert with open mouth.
     “I would bet that the farmers that taught you how to farm didn’t know the difference between wheat seed and grass seed either…”

In my experience, all around the world, churches are places where people with disabilities are too often not sought out, not invited in, not included and loved like anyone else. How could we literally have generations of Christian communities where this is the accepted practice? Perhaps for generations, the farmers, the leadership of the Christian community, have been planting the wrong seed. The soil, in other words the congregation, is not necessarily the problem. It is the seed that is being planted by the farmer, what is taught and expected from the leadership, that is the problem.


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