A reflection on Matthew 13:1-9,18-23 , the Gospel lesson for Proper 10a, according to the Revised Common Lectionary.
For the longest time I’ve read the Parable of the Sower as descriptions of various groups of people. As if there are certain people who are, no doubt about it, just plain rocky soil. Then there are others who hang out with the thorns. The lucky ones are the healthy soil.
That would be convenient. Especially if you happened to be fertile dirt. It may even be convenient to be the impervious path, because it might just feel like a condition you had nothing to do with. As if being poor soil is kind of like having acne, or a receding hair line.
But, the uncomfortable reality is that I have good soil potential within me… And, it’s only a stone’s throw from some seriously rocky ground.
Not far from the thorns and weeds either.
They are all within me. And depending on the day, or the moment, or the circumstance, I end up presenting one or the other.
Years ago now my wife and I tried starting a garden next to our house. There was good soil – we lived right by the bank of a creek after all. But, there were also a lot of large rocks. It was amazing how many we pulled out of that little patch. We tried tilling it up, and it was incredibly tough.
We even broke the tiller in the process. Broke a blade right off.
Eventually, after a half-baked effort, we gave up.
I could apply that story as a metaphor to many, many moments in my life. Sometimes I come up all rocks. Sometimes I break things.
Sometimes, to heck with it, I just give up.
Jesus is asking us here to bring our best dirt, so that his Way can take root deep within us. This isn’t something that happens by chance, or because we’re fortunate to have good genes. It’s something we put effort into.
We’re the ones charged with tilling our soil so that the Life which Jesus sows may grow in us, and produce a bounty.
Even if we bust the tiller in the process, there’s no giving up.