6th Sunday after Pentecost | Parable of the Sower



Not long ago, on Trinity Sunday, Jesus gave us a charge:

To paraphrase the end of Mt. 28, it was: everything, to everybody, everywhere.

And for almost two month’s, that’s been our motto –

Everything Jesus has said, done, and won, given to everyone, everywhere.

And that charge has been hiding in every Gospel reading we’ve heard since.


But this week it is not hiding.

“A Sower went out to sow.”

Recklessly, joyfully, almost naively – not counting cost or loss,

He casts the seed everywhere.


And so you, if you’ve taken Jesus’ charge seriously these last couple months,

Have been sowing, giving away what you yourself have received for free.

At work and at home, and in all the places God has put you,

You’ve been sowing the seed of God’s Word everywhere.

And so, like most who cast seed into the ground, you’ve been hoping for results.


It’s frustrating when results don’t show.

It’s easy to sit up awake at night wondering:

“Why did the just flat out reject it?”


And it’s supremely disappointing when you see someone get really excited about this Gospel, and they throw themselves into it, and for a couple of months they are sharing Bible verses with you, and even going to Church, only to fall away.


Trouble comes as trouble will, and they weren’t ready for it.

They tried to grow up so quickly, but had no foundation.

When trials came, all they had was their feelings, and so they withered away.


What’s even harder is to see those who do have a foundation,

Friends and family who should be flourishing,

Get distracted and busy and greedy for time and treasure –

So much so that they are consumed by them.


One way you might console yourself is with this parable.

“John must be dirt on the path, and that’s why he turned me away.”

“Judy must be the rocky soil, that’s why she sprang up so quickly,

only to fall away when tough times came.”

“Jack must be the ground with thorns. Of course he got choked by them.”


You could console yourself that way.

But please don’t.

Because you’re not only going to misunderstand Jesus, which is enough,

But you’ll misunderstand your friends, your neighbors, and yourself, too.


Jesus isn’t talking about you and what sort of soil you think yourself to be.

This is about Him and His Seed, the living and active Word, doing His work.


The Sower sows with abandon.

He knows what will happen to seed sown on roads, rocks, and thorns,

And He spreads His seed anyways.


Jesus knows what will happen when He spreads His Word.

He’s seen it all.

And He doesn’t need to look any further than His own Church.


Jesus has seen His Word preached, proclaimed, and planted among you.

But like a road with nothing but dust on it,

Many who have sat here will simply not have it.

It’s not just a matter of understanding in the academic sense.

You’re bothered when you hear the Word

And it says something you don’t care to hear.


It names your sin, and you know it – you understand.

So you tell yourself you don’t understand, or that it’s just too complicated,

Or you know so much, that you try to explain it away.


The Word has been sown into your heart, but you won’t let it stay there.

So the evil one comes and happily removes it for you.

He hungrily devours what you spit out.


Jesus has seen His Word preached, proclaimed, and planted among you.

And like a seed cast into rocky soil with no depth,

He’s seen you spring up with fervor,

And get excited, and make resolutions you can’t keep.

Your heart just seemingly on-fire for Him,

Until real heat comes,

And you begin to faint.


You’ll happily be a Christian, even at college or at work.

But when that earns you persecution or suffering,

You shrink away, because you have no root.

You won’t drink deeply of Scripture and be strengthened by it,

When you’ve refused to do more than scratch the surface.



Jesus has seen His Word preached, proclaimed, and planted among you.

Even more, He has seen you grow.

And then He sees you get distracted.


The cares of this world here, the need for more time now,

The satisfaction of your bank-statement,

These things suffocate you,

Until you just stop growing, and you bear no fruit.

And then what good are you?


The thing is, He’s not surprised.

The Father, His Son, and His Spirit: He has seen this before.


Once He formed life from the dirt of Eden,

Only to see it attacked and snatched up by the evil one.

And from that moment the thorns have infested the ground;

Rocks prevent growth;

And birds take what is not given to them.


So the Father has replanted His Garden.

The Eternal Word has been sown in the Virgin’s womb.

And He has risen up among us.


Jesus Christ, the Word made Flesh, the Root of Jesse’s stump,

The Word sown among thorns,

Has borne the thorns of the fallen world on His own head for you.

He has suffered under the heat of His Father’s wrath against sin for you.


And when that sin, your sin, killed Him,

And the Word was sown into cold, rocky earth and sealed with a stone,

He cleared it away.

Jesus has cast aside the stone that would keep His tomb shut,

He has cast aside the stone that would keep your tomb shut.


In His resurrection, Jesus Christ, the Word sown on the path,

Has burst the bowels of the devil and hell, who consumed Him.


“Truly, truly, [Jesus says] to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” (John 12:24)


This He has done so that no evil, no heat, no stone, and no thorn may keep you from growing in Him.


What makes good soil good soil is that it has been tended to,

Even as you have been tended to.


Jesus has labored long, preparing the ground, tilling the soil of His Eden.

He has cleared the rocks, birds, and thorns away in His death and resurrection.


He has cast His Word into you.

He has watered you in Holy Baptism.

And now He who has made and prepared good soil,

Nourishes it, feeds it.


This Jesus, this Sower who has planted you, watered you, and tended you,

Now feeds you.


Jesus Christ, the Sower of His Word, this very morning, gives of Himself:

His own Body, broken in death for you.

His own Blood, shed on the cross for you;

For the forgiveness of all your sins;

And for the strengthening of your faith.


When you’ve been tended to that way,

If you would only let yourself be tended to,

You’ll bear much fruit, too.

Some thirty, sixty, some a hundredfold – but you will bear fruit.


In closing, I’d ask you not to try and keep count of it.

Even Jesus isn’t.

He simply expects it.

Anyways, the fruits that you will yield,

A faithful witness, a joyful proclamation, works of mercy,

an open ear, and loving words –


All that tasty fruit,

Is not for Jesus.

It’s for your neighbor.

It’s for your siblings.

It’s for your spouse.


Just like this Sower,

Just like His Seed.


It’s for everybody, everywhere.



About Pastor Hopkins