Are You A Farmer?

A farmer went out to his field and began planting seed.

In the pattern of the farmers of the day, he spread his seeds with his hands.

He reached into the bag of seeds, grabbed a handful, then threw the seeds in a semi-circle pattern.

Some of the seed went where it was unlikely to provide a useful harvest: the path leading to the field, the weed-filled sides of the path, some large stones that had been piled up along the edges.


As every farmer knows, the seeds sprouted in accordance with their location. They also offered fruit based on the quality of the soil on which they fell.


We generally focus our attention on the seeds. And pull a moral from their choices of soil.


But perhaps we should look instead at the farmer.

You see, I can’t be seed; but I can be a farmer.

Let’s see what we can understand from him (or her). (Yes, there are definitely female farmers in this kingdom.)


The farmer has control over the seeds that he has reserved for planting.

I learned from my Uncle Ben. We grew just about everything we ate during the long New England winters. Most of the harvest was canned – you know, glass jars, rubber seals, water-bath treatment.


All of the produce was harvested in the same way. By hand, one pod or ear at a time.


Then in the evenings we would sit on the porch with the abundance of fresh harvest in baskets all around us. We each also had a pan into which we put the beans or other veggies for washing and stuffing into jars to be processed – canned.


Uncle Ben and Aunt Clara kept their eyes on everything going on. I didn’t realize it at first. But they were looking for seed to be separated from the canning stock so it could be dried and sheltered over the winter. Then, in the Spring, that seed would be used for planting for the new season.


The seed that the farmer was spreading widely, he had selected for just this purpose – a new harvest.

He knew how much field he had and how much seed.

He was not wasting seed, even though he scattered the seed with apparently little regard for the likelihood of achieving a harvest along the edges.


I think he knew that he was feeding some birds. Maybe he was aware of the mice and other field creatures that were in the growth along the path and the field. They also were fed from the over-throw.


Allow me to interpret just a bit.

The plowed field into which most of the seeds were scattered could be the church.

Good people, present and waiting for the Word to be scattered to them. Eager to bear fruit for the harvest.


But, if we sow seed only in the plowed field, from where will we gather new hearers of the Word?

It is in the unplowed soil that we find the ones who most need the seed to spring up and offer Hope.


The farmer threw his seed where there was little-to-no good soil apparent. Not all of his seed, but at least some.


We could be the farmer.

We have seed; truth from the Bible.

Farmers are not very successful if they don’t farm.


Farmers can sit in their barns and admire their previous harvests. Rightly so.

But if they don’t get out in the field and plant, the barns will eventually be empty.


We, the farmers, will be most like the parable-farmer when we are planting.

Active, working farmers are in the best health.

Farmers with fields to harvest are the happiest ones.


I don’t know where your fields are. I don’t know what the edges of your fields look like.

I do know that the parable promises a harvest to the farmers who are sowing seed.


Grab a handful of seed and sow it.


Mark 4:1-20


Comments are always invited and welcome.