“A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up…” [Matt 13: 3&4 NIV]
In part one of this topic, we discussed the seeds that fell along the path. We determine that because the seeds fell on top of the soil that had been made hard by the tramping of feet that, in order for it to be better able to receive the seed, it would need to be plowed up. We also established that Jesus, who had referred to Himself as a spear if He were reshaped into a plowshare, could provide this service of plowing up the path soil! The challenge comes in the culture and pre-ordered tendency for Christian brand Christian communities to NOT do this; in fact the tendency is to resist this. The reason they are resistant to any disturbance in the status quo within their Christian communities is due to their fundamental belief narrative as being one of “personal salvation”!
If we look at this parable again to get a better, more precise sense about what Jesus was explaining with it we must include “the kingdom of heaven” narrative and in verse 19, Jesus makes this point. Here He explains that the path represents a condition whereby people hear the message about the kingdom but don’t understand it. Might it be a possibility that Jesus was referring to Christians within traditional “Christian brand” communities? The reason I’m suggesting this is simple, these traditional Christian congregations have been focused on personal salvation as their foundational Christian imperative and because they’ve been thus preoccupied, the kingdom narrative has effectively been displaced by it! Due to the doctrines and other Christian brand hierarchical restraints being transfused into their spiritual bloodstream, the kingdom isn’t even a matter for discussion in these congregations. If we are able to see the Christian condition through this lens, verse 19 becomes clearer to understand.
19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path.
A quick way to prove my point here is by asking any Christian (Catholic or Protestant) if they believe the term “kingdom of God” is just another way of saying “heaven”! If they say yes, my point has been made and the emboldened part of verse 19 [see above] becomes much more understandable.
The outcome of the seeds falling along the path is that they get eaten up by the birds. Let’s talk more about this. Our immediate thought here is that this is the end of the line for those seeds! But is it really the end for them? The bird eats the seed and flies off to destinations unknown. Getting into the biology of digestion, it can be said that many of the eaten seeds will be converted into energy for the bird; however, if the bird eats too many seeds at once some of them will pass through the bird without being digested. When one of these undigested seeds exits the bird it will fall to the earth intact. When this occurs, depending on where the seed lands it can fulfill its destiny after all. In this scenario, the seeds are being scattered much further out than the farmer, can sow them on his own! Additionally, when that seed exits the bird, it is pre-fertilized with a much greater potential toward germinating and fulfilling its destiny. Remember, the seed is a metaphor for the kingdom message and the farmer is a metaphor for the Holy Ghost. (to be continued)