Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23
Coercion belongs to the ways of the world: apply pressure; crush them; kill off the opposition. God’s way is invitation. God invites participation in his way of doing things. The word of God is sown with the invitation to embrace it, give it room to grow and to produce in our lives the crop that God is looking for. That shows respect for our freedom and individuality, but it also makes God vulnerable. God’s invitation may be rejected outright; or it might be responded to enthusiastically until the novelty wears off and then be allowed to wilt; or it might simply get crowded out by other invitations – invitations to be powerful and important, invitations to revel in pleasure and entertainment, invitations to become rich; or it may be accepted and allowed to take root and grow, developing a life characterised by love for God and for neighbour. However it doesn’t matter how fertile the soil might be; if the seed is not sown there it will not take root and grow. We don’t have it within us to grow this crop. It is Jesus’ message about the kingdom of God and the impact of God’s Spirit upon us that enables the new life to grow in us. Paul in his Letter to the Romans put it like this: “Those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.” A life that is driven by desire for power, pleasure and prosperity is spiritually dead no matter how successful it might appear in the eyes of the world. It is the life sensitive to God’s Spirit of love that shows us what life is really all about.
- Why is it so important to stress the point that God invites and does not force people into his kingdom?
- What do you think about this: “We don’t have it within us to grow this crop”?
- How does the way of Jesus compare with the commonly accepted ways of the world?
- What might we learn from the parable of the sower about our communication of the gospel in our society today?