“Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. (Mark 4:3-4 ESV)
When Jesus commands us to listen, our ears should tune in! Here, Jesus was addressing a crowd on the shore from a boat, speaking to a crowd that normally wouldn’t be seen in the synagogue. This begins a famous parable known as, “The Parable of the Sower”. The Prime Sower is God, who dispenses “the word” (Mark 4:14) through the faithful (2 Corinthians 9:10). Who are the sowers? All of us are; not simply our Christian pastors, authors and speakers.
In that day, sowing like this was a common method of farming. What would happen, is a sower would take seed and go “out to sow”, preparing various types of soil to receive the seed. What is so profound in this parable is the assumption that seed will indeed be sown, no matter the condition of the ground. Only after we see how it prospers can we, as the sowers, determine what kind of soil we have sowed upon. No matter the soil, our delight is to sow the word. For as Ecclesiastes reads:
“In the morning sow your seed, and at evening withhold not your hand, for you do not know which will prosper, this or that, or whether both will be good.” (Ecclesiastes 11:6 ESV)
In short, our duty is not to leave the sharing of the Gospel, the word, to the “professionals”, or to neglect sowing on soil we don’t deem profitable. No! Our duty is to scatter on every heart and mind that we come into contact with, never withholding our hand. The joy of sowing, of participating in God’s work, is given to each of us.
Remember, we may scatter seed and water it, but God alone gives the growth (1 Corinthians 3:6).