The Parable of



                                                                    Matthew 13:1-23



     Fred and Lucy Jones were a simple couple with simple tastes and a simple lifestyle, despite the fact that they had ten children they were raising.  They ranged in age from nine to nineteen, and each had their own busy schedule.

     Birthday parties were of the few occasions that brought the whole family together at once.  It was their oldest son’s nineteenth birthday, and three close friends of the family and their children were also there.  The four families were gathered together for a family barbecue.  The children played outside, while the   adults gathered in the shade of the patio.  An outdoor TV was mounted on a wall bracket, and while the hamburgers were on the grill, a TV evangelist came on with a Sunday sermon.

     “Hey”, said Fred.  “Isn’t this the guy that does faith healings?”    

     “Oh, is he the one?” his neighbor, Nate said.  “I heard about him.”

     “Do you think he’s for real?” said Rick, his other neighbor.

     The evangelist was known to be very convincing.  A long line of audience members waited backstage for him to lay his hands on them and heal them.  A gospel choir opened the services by clapping their hands and shouting praises to God.  The evangelist gave a sermon about a parable of a man who was sowing good seeds.

     “Some of the seeds fell to the wayside”, the evangelist said, “where the birds came along and ate them up before they had a chance to sprout.”

     “Well”, said Nate, “I’m going to check on the burgers.  Do any of you guys want to come with me?”

     “No”, said Rick.  “I want to watch this.”

     “I’ll be out in a little while”, said Joe.

     “Suit yourself”, said Nate, with a shrug.

     The evangelist continued.  “Some seeds fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth and therefore had no root in itself, but endures only a little while, and they withered away.”

     “Well”, said Joe, “it looks like it’s going to be a while before the good stuff starts.  I’m going to go help Nate with the burgers.  Let me know when he starts healing people.”

     “Alright”, said Fred.  Then to Rick he said, “You know, it might be fun to go see this guy in person someday.”

     “Yeah”, said Rick, “but his cathedral is so far away; it would take hours to get there.”

     “I guess you’re right”, said Fred.  “Still, I’ve been thinking a lot about going back to church.  I have so many blessings”, he said, “you know… wife, kids, job, house…I really feel guilty about not going to church.”

     “Yeah”, said Rick, “I know what you mean.”

     Meanwhile, the TV sermon continued.  “…And some of the seeds fell among thorns, and the cares and riches of the world sprang up and choked them.

     “So, how about it?” asked Fred.  “Do you want to go find a church to go to with me?”

     “Well, I would”, said Rick, but right now I have to work on Sundays.  “We need another car soon, and we want to put in a swimming pool next year, so I have to work the extra hours.  We need the money.”

     Fred was paying attention to the sermon.  “But other seeds fell on good ground and yielded a crop”, the evangelist said, “some a hundred fold, some sixty, and some thirty.  He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

     “You know”, said Fred, “I think I will go back to church…next weekend.”

     “Good for you”, said Rick.  “Say a prayer for me.”

     The next weekend, Fred made good on his word.  He talked it over with his wife and children, and found a nearby church they could attend.  But he found out it wasn’t that easy.  Only the youngest three children were excited about going, and he couldn’t even get the oldest four to go at all.  And so his crop of seeds yielded 30% fruit.

    But Fred and Lucy didn’t stop there.  They decided to add daily prayer to their routine at mealtime and at bedtime.  They also had a fun family scripture study on one of the weeknights.  Before long, their three middle children became interested in the church’s activities, and made good friends in church.  That raised their crop yield to 60%.

     But the biggest blessing came when they decided to do volunteer services as a family once a week.  All the children, including the older ones, were involved in deciding what to do for other people.  Soon, they all got caught up in the joy of service, and all ten children began to attend church regularly and live the gospel principals every day.  After years of persistent effort and faith, all ten children went on to marry, have children of their own, and continue to be church-going people. 

     And when they were old, Fred and Lucy reflected upon their life and enjoyed a wonderful crop of children that yielded love, one hundredfold.      





THE SOWER OF SEEDS  (Matthew 13: 3-9,18-23)


     “Behold, a sower went forth to sow; and when he sowed, some seeds fell by the wayside, and the fowls came and devoured them up.  Some fell on stony places, where they had not much earth, and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth.  And when the sun was up, they were scorched, and because they had no root, they withered away.  And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprung up, and choked them.  But others fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some a hundredfold, some sixty fold, some thirty fold.  He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

      Hear, therefore, the parable of the sower.  When any one hears the word of the kingdom, and understand it not, then comes the wicked one, and catches away that which was sown in his heart.  This is he, which received seed by the wayside. 

     But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that hears the word, and with joy receives it.  Yet, he has not root in himself, but endures for a while; for when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, by and by he is offended. 

     He also that received seed among the thorns is he that hears the word, but the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. 

     But he that received seed into the good ground is he that hears the word and understands it, who also bears fruit and produces:  some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty”