Luke 8:1-15                    “Honest & Good Heart”


            Today God is “talking story” with us. Just imagine that you go down to the beach and see Jesus standing there with some other people. Jesus is relaxed. God is taking in the sunset on the beach. Jesus is listening to everybody else’s stories and laughing along with the crowd. Then, it’s God’s turn to relate an anecdote from the real life of the Almighty! We stop and listen to a true story from God. We have ears to hear and open hearts.

            One of the most amazing things about the parables that we have in the Bible is just this idea that is God telling us a story. I LOVE hearing stories—so much the better when the story comes from the mouth of God through the person of Jesus Christ!

            And of course, I repeat myself once again, as I point out that a “parable” literally means “that which is thrown out there.” “Para” is “towards,” and “boly” is a ball. So, a parable is something simply that is thrown out there. It is simply up to us to catch its meaning.

            In that way, sincerely, the Parable of the Sower is describing exactly how a parable is for us. Jesus just puts His Word out there, he casts it broadly, and it is up to us to be receptive of that Word and to let it grow and bear fruit! Cool, right?


            The story that was read from the Bible this morning does what every parable does: it relates back to us at two different levels. It is just a story about sowing some seed. In those days, everybody would easily understand the story and relate to it. They would probably even add to it or “top” the story from their own experience. “Well, let me tell you about what happened when I planted my tomatoes. . .”

            I know that today some of us do not sow our own seeds or have gardens. Yet, back then everybody knew about seeds and planting. Their lives depended on it. Let me update and re-contextualize the parable for us then.

Imagine that you are watching someone make a pizza at the pizza restaurant. I bring this up because Wednesday is always pizza night at our home. It is also the day that I write the Sunday sermon. Some of the toppings land on the pizza. Some of them land on the pan and burn in the oven. Some of them land on the table where the pizza is being made, get swept on the floor, and thrown away. So, if you are not good with the scattering seed analogy then change it to scattering pizza toppings, some of which do not become part of the pizza! God is trying to bake a great pizza!

            Today we read it, and we are amazed at the meaning that it carries for us about the world that we live in, the relationships we have with others, and most importantly we get incredible insights into how God might see us.


For example, I have always wondered how it is that although we are all created in God’s image some of us turn out one way and others turn out the other way. Does God plan it that way? We are all the same seed, right? So, it depends on where we land as to how we turn out in the end. Are some of us destined to be ax murderers, swindlers, or even politicians? How is it that one brother becomes a pastor and the other a businessman? Of course, I am talking about my twin brother in California.

The story from God that we have read this morning attempts to answer it from a Godly perspective: Some seed lands in one place where it grows. Some seed lands in a different place where it languishes.  Some people, therefore, will be cast away from good soil. Others will land right where they are supposed to land. Now, the farmer does not want to waste the seed. Yet, this just happens.

A parent does not want to have a child suffer from a grave illness or have them turn into a criminal. No one could intend to have seed go bad! Yet, sometimes it just does. This does not mean that one should not scatter the seed. One must have a certain amount of faith that most of the seed will go where intended. 

We know that God in heaven does not intend for some souls to be lost to sin. God does not want to waste those souls. I have to believe that that is not part of the plan. God did not plan for one of His angels to fall from heaven, the one we call Lucifer. God did not plan for us to be kicked out of the Garden of Eden either.

Even when we were kicked out of Paradise, the seed was still in our good and honest hearts. Even bad fruit can have the seed to bear good fruit again! Let us turn together to James 1:19-21, “You must understand this, my beloved, let everyone be quick to listen and slow to speak, slow to anger, for your anger does not produce God’s righteousness. Therefore rid yourselves of all sordidness and rank growth of wickedness, and welcome with meekness the ‘implanted’ word that has the power to save your souls.”

Do you catch the references to planting and growth in this? “The implanted word of God.” The “produce” of God’s righteousness.” Over against the “growth of wickedness.” Open your heart to God for God is scattering the seeds of faith. Let that faith grow up in you and produce the fruits of the spirit in your life.


While I was reading this parable, something else jumped up out of the Word of God that surprised me. Why does the farmer scatter the seed at all? Why doesn’t the farmer simple buy his food at Big Save Market or Ishihara Market like everyone else? This came to me while I was considering how many of us here in our own church will most likely eat today something that has come out of your own garden or the community garden here at church. Going back to the idea of pizza: Our pizza on Wednesday night is garden-da-kine pizza. The toppings come from the garden: basil, oregano, green onions, eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, green peppers. These all come from the yard. But, most people are just going to pop into the local market and get the frozen box pizza.

You know, and I know you know, that God has given us a commandment from the Bible that a lot of people just like to ignore! Any guesses as to which commandment I am talking about? We could probably name all of the commandments, to be sure! We are not so good at following God’s Word obviously.

Let us turn together to Genesis 8:17, “Bring out with you every living thing that is with you of all flesh—birds and animals and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth—so that they may abound on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.” This command is repeated again in Genesis 9:7 for us. But, it was first spoken by God way back in Genesis 1:28, “God blessed them and said be fruitful and multiply.” It is repeated again and again throughout the Bible. The last references include Galatians 5:22 (talking about the fruits of the Spirit) and this line from Colossians 1:10, “. . . .Lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in knowledge. . . .”

We are supposed to be bearing good fruit in this world! We are being commanded from page one of the Bible by God to produce! Not just to consume! When we simply go down to the market and buy our food, we are not producing, we are consuming. But, the Bible tells us over and over again that we must be productive. We must bear good fruit. We must be like the farmer that scatters the seed with the trust, the faith, the anticipation of good growth—even if some of it lands in areas that do not produce!

There is a whole shift in how to think about church here. For so many years we have heard this idea that we come to church to be FED!  Jesus also gives us the command to feed the sheep. At the end of the Gospel of John, we hear Jesus telling Peter three times “Feed my Sheep.” But, let us look at it this way, if you are not producing anything, what then are you feeding anybody? We should not come to church just to be fed! We should come to church to produce the fruits of the Spirit so that we may feed others!


Do you remember how I said earlier that most people in the day would hear this parable while talking story with Jesus and would probably want to top it. So, that is me now. I want to talk about a tomato vine in my garden right now. You see, the last line of our scripture says that the good soil are those who have a good and honest heart and bring forth fruit with patience. I was wondering what the word “patience” has to do with sowing seed.

If you are a gardener you will know that the first fruit that you get out of the garden when a plant grows and blossoms is not very seedy. It is the first fruits. They are the best for eating by far. Then, the plant will take a little rest and then have a second blossoming and second fruits. These second fruits are still okay for eating, but all of the sudden we see that they have plenty more seeds and tend to be smaller. The plant has put all of its energy into making an abundance of seeds. This is because the plant knows it will not continue to grow and produce forever. The seed is more critical now for the next season of growth. That is the patience that we need—not just to bear first fruits, but to produce seed for the next season.


I just want to close with lifting up the wonder of Jesus’ talking story with us in this way. You see, we have the commandments clearly form God and Jesus, but when we hear this story, all of the parables, it is not like just getting a commandment to do or not do something. We have to think how it applies to our own lives. We have to make a choice then as to whether we should lives as the parable instructs us.

Yes, the most incredible thing about these stories from God is how we relate to them in our lives after hearing them. Was that story from Jesus just about a farmer planting seed? Or, are we being called to go forth to produce the fruits of the spirit in that same way, trusting that some of the faith we scatter will indeed produce one hundred fold!