I came upon a poem which reads more like an ode to the plant Evergreen by Rose Marie Juan Austin:
Firm to the ground
From the deepest blizzard winter
To the desert like summer.
Is enveloped with snow
Yet your green imposed its way out
Under the diamond dusts
Forever green, you are.
Autumn’s and winter’s might
They could never
Never take away
Your crowning glory
From your majesty.
The rainy days of spring
The violent thunderstorms of fall
Make your green greener
The poem reminds me of the parable of the sower where Jesus calls us…. Well….rather….challenges us to be like the Evergreen.
As you know, Jesus begins his parable with:
“Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”
Or as the New Living Translation paraphrases it:
“Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”
This phrase appears almost 10 times on the lips of Jesus throughout the Gospels!
That’s because Jesus wants to be sure you’re really paying attention to his teachings.
In other words: Are you for real listening to Jesus?
So that’s the first and probably most important challenge presented by the parable.
Jesus goes on to paint a picture of a person scattering seed.
Jesus explains that the seed is “the word” or “the word of God,” that is the Gospel about the coming Kingdom of God on earth.
Jesus explains that the path represents people who hear the Kingdom message.
But unfortunately because they don’t understand the Gospel about the Kingdom the evil one, i.e., the Devil comes and takes it away from their hearts.
As we know, “the heart” is a Hebrew idiom, i.e., another way of speaking about your mind, the storehouse of your understanding, your intellect.
That’s why, Jesus explains, some people are prevented from believing and being saved.
Paul later adds in 2Thess 2:10 that Satan, the same Devil, “will use every kind of evil deception to fool those on their way to destruction, because they refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them.”
So it’s all up to you.
Free will remember?
Jesus goes on to describe other seeds that fall on rocky ground.
It represents people who immediately hear the good news of the coming Kingdom with joy but have no firm root in them.
In other words, they don’t last because when testing times come they immediately will fall away.
Jesus explains that other seed fall among thorns.
They represent those who hear the message, but all too quickly the Kingdom message is crowded out by, cares, riches and pleasures of this life.
And so they never grow into maturity, i.e., never bear good fruit.
But then Jesus says some seeds fall on “good” or “fertile soil.”
The soil represents people who are of sound and noble mind, pure hearts.
This enables them to hear the word about the Kingdom and not only understand it but are able to retain it deep within their hearts.
And by persevering they eventually bear good fruit.
Now, they say some evergreen trees can have roots that are more than 200 feet deep!
Which reminds me of what Paul says in Col 2.7.
Where the New Living Translation once again best captures the theme of the parable of the sower:
“Let your roots grow down into him. And let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.”
So I pray when the son of man comes he will find your faith, in this word about the Kingdom, still on the earth.
“Firm to the ground;