Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: “Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Let anyone with ears listen!” (Matthew 13:1-9)
My mother’s side of the family is Pennsylvania Dutch, Mennonite, and though I didn’t grow up on a farm, many of my Mennonite relatives were (and are) farmers. When I was young, it always fascinated me to spend time with them down in southern Illinois. And so my backdrop for hearing this story Jesus tells about the sower is from my own experience down on the farm. This parable of the sower which Jesus tells does not ring true to me. No farmer, no sower – whether it be with corn in Illinois, or apple trees in Massachusetts, or with grapes and figs in Israel/Palestine – no farmer, no sower would sow seeds like Jesus describes. I don’t think so.