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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Parable of the Sower…”Some seeds fell by the way side”



The Parable of the Sower…”Some seeds fell by the way side”

Greetings So Fyh readers and subscribers, I am delighted to bring to you a very familiar Bible Scripture but with a more directed
Winston Howard
focus.  In the next 4 issues, I will attempt to fine tune your understanding of this parable and how it relates to us as Christian Believers and the way we live in this chaotic world of ours. 

Chapter 13 of the Gospel of Matthew begins with Jesus teaching the multitude by sea side.  It’s important to note here that when Jesus saw the multitude was increasing, he got in a boat and launched out while the multitude stood by the shore.  This is important because Jesus was following the Hebrew tradition of teaching which was in a seated position.  Since the multitude was so great, everyone would not be able to see and/or hear him if he stayed seated on the sea side.  Thus, by getting in a boat and launching out, everyone would be able to see and hear him teach.  Matthew then begins to tell us that “he spake many things unto them in parables.” (Matthew 13:3, KJV) What follows in one of the most famous parables in the Bible also known as The Parable of the Sower.
 As promised, I will attempt to decipher the 4 parts to this parable, the first being And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up” (Matthew 13:4, KJV). So, what does this mean? Indeed, even Jesus’ disciples who understood the parable, assumed that the multitude did not as demonstrated in their asking, “why do you speak to them in parables”. Jesus is the Master Teacher and He knows how to get through to people.  If you think back to the most influential teacher you had at any level of your  education, you would probably say that they taught in a way that you could understand.  Jesus taught the same way…in a way that people could understand.
Jesus explains this parable in verse 18 and 19, “Now listen to the explanation of the parable about the farmer planting seeds:  The seed that fell on the way side represents those who hear the message about the Kingdom and don’t understand it. 

Then the evil one comes and snatches away the seed that was planted in their hearts.” In my own parable to the parable, let’s take a situation that many Memphians are familiar with and perhaps many others through mainstream and social media, that being the incident that happened at a Memphis, TN Kroger Grocery Store parking lot in which a mob of kids (teenagers) seemingly assaulted and attacked an innocent citizen just for the fun of it.  According to statements taken from an unidentified witness, “They were playing a game called ‘point them out, knock them out’ where they would point someone out and attempt to knock them out or fight them. There was no real reason behind it.” (Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/08/teens-attack-man-kroger-memphis_n_5785164.html) Many people weighed in on this isolated, yet presumably epidemic issue among the youth of Memphis via sounding off to anyone who would listen.  Stating things like, “where were the parents”, “are they gang bangers”, and of course the Obama haters think that it’s his fault.
The Seed Sower
But here’s the glaring and yet visually impaired truth of the matter…Jesus said in this parable, “for they look but they don’t really see.” (Matthew 13b, NLT) The truth of the matter is, there will always be some people like this, those that fall by the way side.  The Sower is the Word of God that everyone (the seed) has an opportunity to embrace.  Jesus knows that not everyone will embrace Him and His message just as the Sower knows that every seed he casts is not going to land on good soil.  Some of it will be tossed by the way side and will be nothing more than an easy meal for the foul (evil).  Notice that Jesus does not identify birds of Prey, He just says “foul”.  This imagery is often viewed or depicted as a Crow or Buzzard, but it could be any bird…even the cute Sparrow.  This world is a deceptive world control by the Prince of the Air (Ephesians 2:2).  Everyone has the same opportunity to accept and follow Christ, thus being seed that falls on good soil (stay tuned…we will talk about that one in the 4th installment ;-)). 

So you might ask…”if there will always be people that fall by the way side, as those teenagers in the Kroger Attack, then what do you want from me?” I’m glad you asked.  One of my favorite Christian Family movies is “Facing the Giants”.  There’s a scene in the movie where the coach of a losing football team is stopped by a teacher in the hallway of the school.  This teacher was walking down the halls touching every student locker and praying for every student as he touched their lockers. When the football coach asked him why he does it, there were many of the students he didn’t even know. The teacher told him the story about a farmer who desperately needed rain for his crops to grow. He knew that God would one day send the rain, but he needed to
Facing the Giant
make sure that his field was ready to receive the rain. 
The teacher went on to say that farmer prepared his field daily in hopes that the rain would soon come. In the teacher’s story, the field is the world, the seed (children) is planted in the field with the hope that when God showers his blessings in the form of rain, the seed (children) would receive and take root and grow.  He knew for this to happen, he had to prepare the field daily, pulling weeds, scaring off birds that tried to eat the seeds, cultivating the soil so that it’s not hard and callous.  This was work that needed to be done every day and still no guarantee that when the rain came, all of the seeds would take.  But the farmer’s responsibility was simple…prepare for the rain.  When we’re dealing with seeds (children) that may fall by the way side, we should continue to prepare them for God’s glory.  No farmer plants his field with the expectation that he will lose everything, but he also understands that not all of the seeds will take. 

We can’t guarantee that what happened at Kroger won’t ever happen again, but we as believers in Christ must diligently prepare the youth to live Godly lives. This is done through preparing this world as a farmer prepares his land…cultivating it by helping to remove all malice, hatred and strife, thus reducing the number of seeds that will fall by the way side.