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.



  1. Anonymous9:33 AM

    I agree strongly with the Blog you wrote, It is my belief that the issue surrounding our churches and their inability to reach out to more individuals with disabilities, is nothing more than "learned laziness". I feel that pastors are not challenging themselves in their ministries, to go the places and talk to the individuals (disabled community) who need the most compassion and time. Like the teacher who just stands in front of the classroom and teaches the lesson to the best of her ability. She can and probably is a good teacher, but think for a minute about the teacher who invests her time and energy getting to know each and every student and makes accommodations to improve their learning, she is the greatest teacher. I feel our world needs more great pastors instead of good ones.
    If I had a say in the area of ministry I would ask why are so many pastors not visiting the hospitals, group homes, institutions, etc.? Ministry does not end for them at 5pm when they go home. I feel pastors need to be leaders by example and go out into the world like they preach and tell us to be good stewards. They are not reaching a whole community of people who need them very badly, even if it is just time spent talking about our awesome God.
    When it comes to my personal religion I am saddened. I have stopped attending church because I could not deal with the two faced pastors any more. They tell me to do the very thing they do not want to do themselves and condemn me for it. I believe the biggest reason we have so many atheists in the world is due to Christians. So many of us are content to show up to church on Sunday morning and spend our hour praising/learning about our savior, but then they leave church and live their lives in a manner that saddens God. That is a double standard in my way of thinking and I cannot invest my time in a leader of a church , who lives their life like this. Church is where I need to be vulnerable and bring my worries and fears and happy moments, I have since made the decision to have church in my home everyday not just Sunday, because God should be in our lives daily, at least in my home my praise and worship time with God comes from an honest place always.

  2. Anonymous12:45 PM

    I overall enjoyed reading and thinking about the message behind this post. I find it insightful how you are so clearly and succinctly able to tie Galatians 6:7 to the story of the farmer and agricultural expert in relation to churches and how their leaderships can affect who and how they preach to their members. The number one goal of any Chrisrtian-based congregation is to practice and preach the word of God in an honest and relatable way. After working on my own church and disabilities part two assignment, and hearing those of my peers, it appears that this rarely happens when it comes to people with varying disabilities being welcomed and sought out to be a part of any particular church. The leaders of each congregation dictate the ways in which the word of God is presented and spread. Also the culture of the church. If their belief is in the bible, they need to take the time to delve through the ways in which they are successful and also unsuccessful in doing so. I think this can also be translated to principals of schools. Of course teachers and administrators have their area of expertise and strong suit; whether it be curriculum-based, social-emotional well-being, leadership, etc. Just because there is one area they favor over others, it does not allow them to let all of the other focus areas go to the wayside. They need to remember to be as holistic as they can.

  3. Anonymous
    This post puts everything into a clear picture. Yes, we can think we are planting the correct seeds because that is what we have been taught to do. Majority of the times we have been misled and we are not planting the correct seeds to best help our community. If our leadership does not show us how to properly use our tools and does not give us feedback on what we are doing we will be unable to help ourselves and others grow. Our churches are supposed to be welcoming and loving to all. We are all brothers and sisters. A few weeks ago, I asked my pastor if our church was prepared to teach the bible to people with disabilities and he admitted that the church does not have the proper tools in order to teach people with disabilities about the bible. Churches must continue to grow and be able to accommodate people with disabilities. My pastor knows we are not prepared so we need to take steps so we are prepared.
    I think we as a community need to do a better job of taking the first step in learning about the different disabilities that there are and be willing to look deeper into a disability when we come across someone in our church who has openly told us they have a specific disability. Getting to know them as a person is a great start and getting to know their disability is an even better way of getting close to them.