Sermon: “The Reckless Sower”             

LSB Series A; Proper 10

The Sixth Sunday after Pentecost; July 12, 2020

Gospel Reading: Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23

Grace, mercy, and peace be to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. 

Reckless. It is defined as “utterly unconcerned about the consequences of some action.”

Other words that may come to mind when hearing the word “reckless” may be ‘careless’ or ‘wasteful’.

These are words that would most definitely describe the sower in our text for today. Just look at what he did. He throws some seeds on a path. Picture the seeds bouncing this way and that. Then he throws some in the rocks, no doubt falling down into the cracks and crevices between those rocks. Some of the seed he throws into thorns. Then the last amount of seed he throws into good soil.

If we had been there to watch this sower at work, we might have wanted to say, “What are you doing?! Why are you being so reckless? Don’t you know that is a waste of good seed? What are you thinking?”

After all, what sower, what gardener in his right mind just throws seed on whatever surface he sees? Anyone in their right mind knows that you only throw seed on good soil.

I love gardening. I am not a great gardener. I would not say that I have that natural green thumb. But I have learned a thing or two in my years of gardening. I have learned that you don’t throw seed all over the place. You don’t throw it on pavement, or in rocks, or in thistles. I mean, can you imagine one of the farmers from our congregation going down highway 30 toward Waconia pulling a planter, and then just letting the seeds go everywhere. Just imagine the stories that would circulate in Carver County. “Did you see that farmer driving down the road trying to plant corn on the pavement? He’s crazy! How wasteful! How reckless!”

Yes, any good sower, gardener, or farmer knows that if you want a good harvest, you plant your seed only in the good soil. But not with the sower from our text. He is reckless. He is so desperate for a harvest that He is willing to just let his seed fly every which direction. He isn’t concerned about where it lands, He just wants to get it out there.

If you do the math, the sower only gets a twenty-five percent return on His sowing. Can you imagine a group of farmers in our community conversing, and one of them bragging, “Hey guys, check this out, my crop yielded a whole twenty-five percent of what I planted.” Do you think the other farmers would be like, “Wow, that is awesome?!” No! They would probably wonder what on earth that farmer is doing wrong. As I have been told, corn should yield about 95% of what is planted, and soy beans should yield 90%. So, we would in no way call this guy with a twenty-five percent yield a good farmer. 

I must confess that one of my crops this year is making me feel like I am the sower in the parable to some extent. You see, in one of my two gardens, I have sweet corn planted. I counted out my seeds, and wouldn’t you know it, only a third of them came up. So, I went and bought another bag of seeds and planted those. Only a few of those came up. I have now planted over 130 seeds, and I think I only have like 30-some plants of corn coming up in my garden. Now it was not that I was trying to be like sower in the parable here, but here I am with only about 25 percent of my crop coming up. And why is that? Well, little did I know, but there are these birds nesting near my garden, and sure enough, they are having a ‘field day’ eating my corn before it ever comes to fruition. Sad thing is, I actually have netting to put over my garden, but I guess I was just too lazy to put it on to keep them out. The gardener reaps what he sows, as it goes.

And that is true. Though I had to use more seed, more corn did come up out of the ground. My harvest will be greater because I planted more seed. It may seem quite wasteful in some respects, but the truth of the matter remains, the more seed you sow, the more harvest you get.

This is the approach of the sower in the parable. You see, the sower in the parable is Jesus, and the seed is the Word of God. And more than anything, Jesus just wants a harvest. He just wants to get the seed out there. He isn’t concerned with the soil that it lands upon. He just wants His Word to be spread. He wants people to have faith. We wants people to know the joy and peace of forgiveness. He wants people in His kingdom. Jesus “desires all to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1st Timothy 2:4). So He spreads His Word…recklessly.

Just look at the people that Jesus spends His time with as He spreads His Word. He eats with tax collectors and sinners. He converses with prostitutes and the demon possessed. He interacts with the sick and the lepers. Where anyone else would just avoid ‘those’ people, Jesus jumps right in with reckless abandon and starts throwing His seed everywhere. His Word is scattered this way and that.

Is that the way we are with the Word of God? Do we desire all to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth? Or are we like a sower who only sows where we know there is going to be a crop? Or worse yet, do we hoard the seed to ourselves? 

How many of us are just plain content with the fact that we have salvation, but have little concern for the lost and the fact that people will die and go to hell? It’s a tough question to grapple with, but as we look out into our world, we see that there are a whole lot of people that need to hear the good news that we hear week after week. Some close to us, others perhaps not.

Have we taken for granted God’s Word that is given to us again and again? Have we forgotten our calling to be witnesses of Jesus’ light in a dark world? Have we just grown cold and complacent in our love for others.

The parable of the sower wakes us up from our complacency to see that His recklessness with His Word is what were invited into. We don’t need to concern ourselves with the results or the harvest. He takes care of that. 

Just like He took care of our being converted as well. We, who were conceived and born into sin (Psalm 51:5) were doomed to death and damnation. Yet, the seed of the Word that became flesh entered the soil of our sinful hearts in and through the water and Word of baptism. There, He worked faith in us so that through us He might yield thirty-fold, or sixty-fold, or even one-hundred fold.

Yes, God’s got plans for you as you receive the Word of God into your ears here today. In fact, the prayer I pray from the front of the hymnal before every sermon as you see me stand before the altar says this: 

“Lord God, bless Your Word ‘wherever’ it is proclaimed. Make it a word of power and peace to convert those not yet Your own and to confirm those who have come to saving faith. May Your Word pass from the ear to the heart, from the heart to the lip, and from the lip to the life that, as You have promised, Your Word may achieve the purpose for which You send it; through Jesus Christ, my Lord. Amen.”

That is the goal of the Word being spread, is it not? To confirm those who have faith and to convert those who don’t. And that’s why Jesus is so liberal in His spreading of the Word. He will do anything and everything just to be able to have one more person be saved.

Anything and everything is exactly what He did to save us. Like those thorns that the seeds were thrown into, so thorns were fashioned into a crown for His head as He carried His cross to Calvary. Like those seeds that were withered and those that were choked out, so it was that Jesus’ breath withered to nothing as He was choked by the suffocating reality of His lungs filling with fluid before He died. But it was all worth it to save you.

Where anyone else might think that such a death was careless or wasteful…I mean who dies for a group of sinners, especially when we stop to consider all that we have done. But such is the reckless love of our God. 

God’s Word says: “Though He was in the form of God, He did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:6-8).

That’s a reckless love. And it’s the love Jesus has for you. In no way is He wasteful with His Word, rather He just so wants as many people to be there as possible when the day of the harvest comes. And what a day that will be…when He gathers us in, draws us close, and keeps us in His presence for all eternity.

So, who in your life needs to hear God’s Word right now? Who needs to hear of our God who loves us with a recklessness that knows no bounds, not even when it comes to dying on a cross?

My brothers and sisters in Christ, share God’s Word. Spread it recklessly. Don’t worry about what the soil is like. Leave the growing part to Him. After all, He is the reckless sower, the Savior, Jesus Christ. In His name. Amen.

The peace of God which surpasses all human understanding guard and keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.