Parable of the Sower

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We talked about the parable of the sower in Gospel Doctrine class yesterday. One point I brought up is that we often focus on the place the seed is planted and not on the person planting the seed. I made the suggestion that the sower is each of us and we need to be careful where we sow the word of God if we want it to develop and grow.

As is often the case, I was shot down by an older class member who stated that the sower is, in fact, Jesus.

Which, of course, makes me wonder why Jesus would through his word (or the word of his father) on stony ground or in a place where birds can pick it up? If he is the sower, why wouldn’t he sow in just the good spots?

17 thoughts on “Parable of the Sower

  1. I’ve never thought of him as the sower, but perhaps he is, so I’ll try to look at it from his perspective.

    If he is the sower, why wouldn’t he sow in just the good spots?

    I think that if we assume that the Savior is the sower, then by only sowing in the good spots, he would only be making the gospel blessings available to certain individuals.

    Now, since the gospel / atonement is universally available to all of God’s children, he would have to sow everywhere, no matter the condition of the soil.

    So in that light, perhaps it isn’t our job as much to sow, but rather to try to prepare the ground for the seed when it comes. If there are some rocky or sandy parts, perhaps it’s our duty to help make those parts better and more acceptable for the seed when it comes.

  2. perhaps it isn’t our job as much to sow, but rather to try to prepare the ground for the seed when it comes.

    Good point.

    Jeff and I were discussing something offline though, which I applied to this only now. The world’s population continues to increase at a steep incline, and the church growth rate has plateaued. If the Lord is going to broadcast the seed willy nilly, it doesn’t seem fair that we have to prepare the soil when there is such a large field and so few farmers.

  3. The world’s population continues to increase at a steep incline, and the church growth rate has plateaued. If the Lord is going to broadcast the seed willy nilly, it doesn’t seem fair that we have to prepare the soil when there is such a large field and so few farmers.

    Perhaps SLC will change the teaching on growth to be more in line with reality. Something like “Only the elect will receive the Gospel until Christ is ready to come again. ” Along with “The time is at hand and since most of the elect have been found, we need to find the reminder so Christ can come again.”

    Just remember you read it first here and not in the Ensign.

  4. there is such a large field and so few farmers.

    I don’t really see it as a fair / unfair issue. If you are defining your success by how many ‘good’ converts you have, then that can get discouraging.

    However, if you define success by how closely you follow gospel principles and how correctly you do your job, then it doesn’t matter what the success rate is. It’s not your problem.

    Lets assume for the sake of argument that the story of Noah and the flood are accurate. Was Noah a failure because there were only 8 who listened to the gospel message? I don’t think so. I think he was a success because he did what he was asked to do by the Lord.

    It doesn’t matter how big the field gets or how few farmers there are, as long as they do the best with the talents they have, they will be counted as a success.

    church growth rate has plateaued.

    I think this is a result of straying from a gospel principle based focus in our leadership. We have become too focused on programs that we think are going to be the magic bullet. We have developed a leadership culture of quick fixes and easy answers. What we need is some resolve to look at the challenges we face as long term and develop appropriate strategies. For instance, I’d rather see a stake approach the ‘home teaching problem’ as something that needs to be fixed over the next 10 years instead of some gimmick to try next month to temporarily hit some good numbers.

  5. My term for reaping what you sow is “karma.” Like if I see a penny, tails up, on the ground, I turn it over to heads and leave it there. I don’t get the good luck, but I get the good karma for passing good luck on.

    To me it’s (unfortunately for me also) what goes around comes around. Or things coming back to bite you on the rear end.

    I was just saying the first thing that crossed my mind, perhaps that isn’t even what you were talking about.

  6. I think you need to point out to this older gentleman that if he had actually READ any of Matthew he might be able to offer some insight; otherwise he should shut his yap.

    The sower is a farmer – not Jesus. Jesus states as much in Matthew.

    Once again ageism rears its ugly head.

  7. rick,

    what part of:

    Parable:

    1. a short allegorical story designed to illustrate or teach some truth, religious principle, or moral lesson.
    2. a statement or comment that conveys a meaning indirectly by the use of comparison, analogy, or the like.

    …don’t you understand?

    Clearly, Jesus wan’t just sharing a story about some farmer he saw on the way to the lake.

    Given the explanation Jesus gives in verses 18 – 23, it’s most likely that the sower is either the Holy Ghost or Jesus himself (they being the only two who can really sow ‘the word of the kingdom … in his heart’).

  8. Why can’t we sow the word in our own hearts? Alma seems to think we can.

    “[We] will compare the word unto a seed. Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts”

    “[Neither] must ye lay aside your faith, for ye have only exercised your faith to plant the seed that ye might try the experiment to know if the seed was good.” (Alma 32:28,36

  9. I get the definition of parable, but it does not in any way mean ‘please insert Jesus in this story’ judging by my reading of the passage.

    ‘The sower’ is any person who is already enlightened and Jesus is explaining effective tools for communication; the current target of his advice being His disciples.

  10. I’m also thinking that if you want to drive up the popularity of this post perhaps you should rename it parable of the shower … seeing that the public showers post remains number one with a bullet.

  11. As is often the case, I was shot down by an older class member who stated that the sower is, in fact, Jesus.

    If you feel as though your view is correct, why did you not challenge the older class member?

  12. I agree GD should not be a bickering match but your silence indicts to others that his views are correct and yours are wrong. Other class members may then think his view is the correct one and teach the false doctrine to others believing they learned it in GD class.

  13. Jesus spoke to the people of His day in parables that reflected things they could relate to from their own experiences.

    The parable of the sower can be read on different levels. As anyone who has ever farmed knows, at least before GPS and satellites, when one is sowing seed some will fall on good ground, some on rocky ground, and some will be overcome with weeds. That is reality.

    The Saviour has given us the “word” to be planted in the doctrine of the atonement, see Alma 33:22-23, and we determine the kind of soil it has fallen into. That’s the beauty of agency.

    Notice that in each case the operative phrase, given in v.19 is “sown in his heart”, showing that it is not the world at large, but those who actually believed,joined, and then exercised their agency to follow on or drop out.

  14. Kim, re: comment 8—there’s a difference between planting something and giving room that it may be planted.

  15. Yes, there is, but in verse 36, Alma specifically discusses us exercising faith to plant the seed (rather than having the seed planted in us).

  16. Perhaps there’s a danger of going too far in trying to make an analogy exact. The point is to make the ground of our hearts is fertile for the word of God, not to quibble over which particular person matches the identity of each character in the story.

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