Prayer: O God, teach us through your Word, in Christ. Amen.
Sixth Sunday after Pentecost
22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing.
Our devotion writer presents a rather different approach to today’s text. She uses it to illustrate the problem that drugs cause in stifling education and healthy living. I think today’s parable is more focused on the Word of God and how it grows in reaching people. Like how when one hears the gospel, but the worldly ways squelch the spread of the Word and turn people away from God.
Consider Lizzy, whose mother was a drug addict and Lizzy struggled to get to school on time, did not get enough to eat many days and had little or no parental guidance. School staff and social services ultimately were able to get Lizzy into a foster home where she would enjoy some structure and guidance and love to help her achieve a productive life.
Maybe our devotion writer is not so far off. Drugs and poverty interfere with the spreading of God’s Word. The sins of the world keep people from living healthy productive lives. “The cares of the world…choke the word, and it yields nothing.”
Our devotion writer declares; “God calls us as individuals and a church to fight evil, poverty, injustice, disease, and prejudice. Spiritual eyes are opened as we reveal God’s love and mercy through our actions.”
Prayer: “Loving Father, give us willing hearts to be the hands and feet of Jesus in a hurting world. Amen.”
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
The Parable of the Sower
13 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. 2 Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach. 3 And he told them many things in parables, saying: “Listen! A sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. 5 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. 6 But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. 7 Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. 8 Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9 Let anyone with ears listen!”
The Purpose of the Parables
10 Then the disciples came and asked him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” 11 He answered, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. 12 For to those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. 13 The reason I speak to them in parables is that ‘seeing they do not perceive, and hearing they do not listen, nor do they understand.’ 14 With them indeed is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah that says:
‘You will indeed listen, but never understand, and you will indeed look, but never perceive. 15 For this people’s heart has grown dull, and their ears are hard of hearing, and they have shut their eyes; so that they might not look with their eyes, and listen with their ears, and understand with their heart and turn— and I would heal them.’
16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. 17 Truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.
The Parable of the Sower Explained
18 “Hear then the parable of the sower. 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path. 20 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away. 22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing. 23 But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”