soil, seed, sower

When it comes to the 'word' Jesus told a foundational parable. The writers of the Gospels considered it to be so important that it appears in Matthew (ch13), Mark (ch4), and Luke (ch8). The same parable told three times is unusual. It is commonly known as the Parable of the Sower.

It is a story about a seed, a sower, and four soils. Another unusual thing is that the Gospels record the meaning of this parable. The 'seed' is the word, or the message of the kingdom. The 'sower' is the one distributing that message. The 'soils' are the human responses to the message - and the fact that are four of them shows this to be the variable dimension in the story.

Herein lies a fundamental problem in the way we view 'ministries of the word' today, including preaching. Rather than functioning like the story really is about ONE sower, ONE seed, and FOUR soils...

we default to it being about FOUR sowers, ONE seed, and ONE soil.

about FOUR seeds, ONE sower, and ONE soil.

It is fascinating to reflect on the implications of these changes. It is subversive fun to retell the parable in these contrary ways ... because it surfaces some massive shifts that have taken place quietly which undermine our confidence in the word - and ministries of the word, like preaching.

nice chatting



Tash McGill said…
great example paul .. we were recently discussing this very parable ... :) I shall now blatantly credit you and pass this on..
Paul said…
Happy Christmas, Tash. Long time no speak! I think looking at the parable in these three ways leads to significant conversation...

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