As for what was sown on good soil,
this is the one who hears the word and understands it—
that doesn’t mean the one who figures out the parable,
because not even the disciples could do that;
Jesus had to take them aside and explain everything,
pass them the answers in the class
or they’d have never passed the course.
No, the one who hears the word and understands it
is not the one with the brains to figure God out
and give you easy answers.
The ones who hear the word and understand it
are the ones with the ears to catch that
if they are ever going to get it,
if they are ever to receive it with joy
if they’re ever care more for God
than wealth and the cares of this world,
and endure long enough
to produce even a few tomatoes for God—
it’s going to take a miracle.
A hundredfold—remember, that’s an impossible harvest,
no one can do that,
that’s a miracle,
that’s grace beyond measure.
So Jesus can’t be telling you to fix yourself up for God;
this can’t be about trying harder to be better;
this can’t be Jesus making impossible demands.
No, that’s not what Jesus is about.
Once again, Jesus is not pointing at you,
blaming you, calling attention to you;
Jesus, like always, is trying to point you to God
and what God is doing all around you!
A hundredfold, sixty, thirty—
that is the awesome, endless, ever-hopeful work of God.
That’s a Gardener that has never met a plot of soil he didn’t like,
who has never looked at some hopeless situation or hard-hearted life
“Hmmm. What could I get to grow there?”
A Gardener who can’t look at a pandemic
or the trouble you face
or the mess you’re in
or even your stubborn refusal of God’s love,
without getting downright giddy at the prospect
of planting the seed of God’s Word in you
and watching it grow.
It’s just that crazy Gardeners demand crazy gardens.
If it’s madness to love you that way, and God is crazy even to try,
then a crazy, profligate God calls for a crazy response from you.
A daring God seeks a daring soul,
one that will risk everything
to give God’s seed a good home and a chance to grow.
One that prays God
not just to bless and protect what’s already there,
but to change your life,
dig it up and convert it to good, receptive soil.
It’s not the easy answer you were looking for;
you might have to think hard about it,
because it will turn the soil and disrupt everything in your life.
And it will never point to you;
it will always point you to God
and send you out to love and feed your neighbor.
When all else fails,
God does not give up on you;
God seeks you and engages you,
and tries one more time to connect
so you won’t just walk away.
That will take some hard work on you,
but it will depend, thank God,
not on you, but on a good Gardener.
And God is just crazy enough to do it—are you?
© Paul R. Olsen