How green does your garden grow?

Lenten Devotions

A Walk through the Book of Luke

March 10, 2023

Luke 8:4-15

The Parable of the Sower

“How green does your garden grow?”

I admit I am anything but the best gardener in the world. However, the one area I keep up with is the four ½ whiskey barrels I have in the front of the house. I water the plants, add fertilizer, pull weeds, and add new plants when needed.

To be honest, I do not overly maintain my lawn in the winter months. This is because the grass goes dormant (even though I live in Florida) and doesn’t grow at all for several months.

I would be amiss if I didn’t include my neighbor’s landscape masterpiece. He has very little lawn, and what he does have is there because the homeowner’s association told him he had to have “Some lawn” out front.

He putters in his garden at least six days a week. So, when I go for walks early in the morning, it’s like walking through an elegant and organized jungle landscape. He does a great job on the maintenance of his garden.

I would be amiss if I didn’t share my pride and joy. Yes, it’s a pine tree (I like to call it my year-long, live Christmas Tree). I planted it a few days after moving into our home in 2007. When I planted it, the pine was just under two feet tall. Now it is about 25”.

Today Jesus shares a parable about farming and gardening. But, of course, parables are generally not about what they seem to be.

*************************The Point***********************

In today’s reading from Luke, Jesus shares what is known as the Parable of the Sower. Let’s check it out.

“After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna, the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.

While a large crowd was gathering, and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this Parable: 

“A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. Still, other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.”

When he said this, he called out, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”

His disciples asked him what this parable meant. 

He said, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others, I speak in parables, so that,

“‘though seeing, they may not see;

though hearing, they may not understand.’ (8:10 Isaiah 6:9)

 “This is the meaning of the Parable: The seed is the Word of God. Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the Word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the Word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing, they fall away. The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way, they are choked by life’s worries, riches, and pleasures, and they do not mature. But, the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the Word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.”

Luke 8:1-15

As chapter eight of Luke begins, we find Jesus traveling from town to town, along with the twelve, proclaiming the Good News. Also traveling with the group were several women who supported Jesus and His Apostles. They likely supported them by preparing meals and such. But they also helped support Jesus’ ministry financially.

Two of the women mentioned, Joanna and Mary Magdalene, are also part of the group of women who went to Jesus’ tomb to anoint His body.

“The word parable was used in the Old Testament to describe any kind of saying that was not to be taken literally. It included similes, fables, stories, and riddles.” New Bible Commentary, 21st Century Edition, Luke, Pp. 993.”

The Parable in the above reading is not really about a farmer. Instead, it is about spreading God’s Word. Jesus could have been referring to himself as the farmer at that time. Today, the farmer could be a Pastor, Priest, or any minister who shares the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

As I prepared this devotion, I thought of my former Pastor and myself when I was in full-time ministry.

In the Parable, Jesus categorizes those who hear His Word into four different groups.

The first group has the devil take the Word away before it can root. Perhaps these are people with very little or no church background. Because they have no religious foundation to build on, they are easily led astray into worldly endeavors.

Like some I have known, the second group accepts God’s Word. But, unfortunately, they are not rooted in the Faith. As soon as problems come along in their lives, they fall away. When what they should do, is turn to God for strength and perseverance.

The third group loses or, at times, loses sight of their Faith. These are people who allow worry to overwhelm them. These are also people that get bogged down by stuff. What’s stuff? Money and the many material distractions the world has to offer.

Finally, some hear God’s Word and do something with it. These people are the fertile field Jesus talks about. They are the folks who read, listen to and understand the Gospel. They will spread the Good news and show God’s love for others by helping, loving, sharing, and caring for them.

Several paragraphs ago, I said this.

“As I prepared this devotion, I thought of my former Pastor and myself when I was in full-time ministry.”

You see, everyone in ministry fails many times. God’s Word and even caring actions are often shown to others. But like the first three areas, the farmer’s seeds were scattered, and these people fell away from Faith and God for various reasons.

So why do Pastors, preachers, laypeople, and retired youth ministers like me keep at it? We know at times, the things we say and do in Jesus’ name will fall on deaf ears, or people will fall away from the Faith after a time.

This is a fact. It happened to Jesus, and it happens today to the spreaders of Christ’s Gospel.

Yet, Pastors, ministers, and lay people keep spreading the Good News, preaching on Sunday, and having youth nights. Why? Because we know a certain amount of people will listen. A certain amount of people will have Faith and become Christ’s followers.

Here’s one of my favorite verses regarding the above subject. These are Paul’s words from 1 Corinthians 3:6:

“I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.”

When we share the Gospel with others, that’s all we can do; share the Gospel. As a called church worker, I can’t make anyone believe or come to Faith. It is God’s Holy Spirit who makes the seeds we plant grow. Some will not listen or are seduced by the world. But those who hear will learn and believe, and then they will share The Gospel of Jesus Christ with others.

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