new plant growing in soil
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God Would Make a Real Bad Farmer

I am not a gardener. I love beautiful flowers and I welcome farm-to-table vegetables. But I do not provide such things for myself. And even I know enough about farming to have a sense that farmers should discriminate when it comes to soil. 

Jesus tells people, however, that God is not a very good farmer. In Matthew 13, Jesus paints a picture of a farmer who scatters seed everywhere. On the road, in the woods, in the rocky places, in the shrubbery. And also in the tilled field that is ready for planting. And yes, the growth that comes is kind of predictable. Not much growth in the rocky places or the path. Growth that is stifled when it sprouts among thorns. And bountiful growth in the “good soil.”

We can see this parable as a warning to cultivate the soil of our hearts, so to speak. We can think it is up to us to become good soil and produce good fruit.

Or we can see this as an image of wasteful generosity, spreading God’s word everywhere, to everyone, with even the smallest chance of growth being a good enough reason to scatter the seed on the ground. 

Jesus does not give us a portrait of a good farmer. He does give us a portrait of a God who wants everyone to come into contact with a word of hope, of love, and of invitation to grace.

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