Lenten Devotions: Planting Seeds

“The seed that fell on good soil are those who hear the word and commit themselves to it with a good and upright heart. Through their resolve, they bear fruit.'

by Barbara Ladany on February 27, 2024
When a great crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from one city after another, he spoke to them in a parable: “A farmer went out to scatter his seed. As he was scattering it, some fell on the path where it was crushed, and the birds in the sky came and ate it. Other seed fell on rock. As it grew, it dried up because it had no moisture. Other seed fell among thorny plants. The thorns grew with the plants and choked them. Still other seed landed on good soil. When it grew, it produced one hundred times more grain than was scattered.” As he said this, he called out, “Everyone who has ears should pay attention.” His disciples asked him what this parable meant. He said, “You have been given the mysteries of God’s kingdom, but these mysteries come to everyone else in parables so that when they see, they can’t see, and when they hear, they can’t understand. “The parable means this: The seed is God’s word. The seed on the path are those who hear, but then the devil comes and steals the word from their hearts so that they won’t believe and be saved. The seed on the rock are those who receive the word joyfully when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while but fall away when they are tempted. As for the seed that fell among thorny plants, these are the ones who, as they go about their lives, are choked by the concerns, riches, and pleasures of life, and their fruit never matures. The seed that fell on good soil are those who hear the word and commit themselves to it with a good and upright heart. Through their resolve, they bear fruit. ~Luke 8:4-15

This parable always makes me think of a Sunday School lesson I taught many years ago. It was a kindergarten/first grade class and first we talked about what plants need to grow (soil, water, sunshine). Then, we created spaces in the classroom for each type of soil mentioned in the parable and the children hunched down on the ground acting as the seeds in each type of soil. I read the parable aloud and the children acted out what would happen to the seeds in each type of soil. They had great fun with this activity, acting it out multiple times, and it made quite an impact. We then talked about God’s word as the seed and how to be the right kind of soil to help God’s word grow. I often feel that adults would benefit from the active learning that children do; I sure do!

With my love of gardening, the visuals in this parable make it pretty easy to understand.  Similar to a garden, our hearts have to be just right for the word of God to bear fruit in us and through us. This is not a one-time thing, getting our hearts right. We must nurture ourselves (and our children), just as we nurture soil for planting. Soil needs the right mixture of components based on the type of seed to be planted. A seed also needs the right amount of water, sun, wind, and temperature. As seeds grow, they take nutrients from the soil and those nutrients need to be replaced over time, so a gardener has to amend the soil as needed. The same goes for us! We need to consistently feed our hearts by participating in worship and small groups, studying the Bible, praying, and sharing our faith in words and action. We want the word of God to bear fruit in us and through us.

I’m not sure if those Sunday school children remember the exact parable and that lively lesson, but I hope they remember that learning from the Bible is important and fun! And that the Bible teaches us about the kind of person God wants us to be. I hope that seed was successfully planted!

Prayer: Gracious God, thank you for the seeds you continue to plant in us over and over again. Please help us be the soil needed for those seeds to take root and flourish, so we can plant seeds in others. Amen.

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