The Sower and fruitfulness  - Matthew 13:23

by Robert Brow       (

(A meditation with the St. Thomas Anglican early congregation, Kingston, Ontario, 11 July 1999)

I love to tell jokes, and I take great pleasure in those choice people who get the point and laugh with me. Some don't even listen. They have turned off even before I begin. Others smile and look interested, but half way along their mind has closed and you know they are on the golf course or thinking about the sauce for the filet mignon. And it is pointless to tell a joke to someone with a butterfly mind. Their brain is so cluttered with worries that you have lost them well before the punch line. Better not share a joke with someone who lacks a sense of humor.

But Jesus said that in the kingdom of heaven there is the occasional hearer "who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundred fold, in another sixty, and in another thirty." From my point of view a really good listener goes around telling my jokes to a hundred people till they come back to me and I get to laugh again and again. I think that is what Jesus meant by fruitfulness. God is delighted when people get his stories and pass them around.

Notice that Jesus' hearers all get the sunshine of God's love. And the good wind and rain of the Holy Spirit. None of them lack the nutrients needed for fruit bearing. And all four groups of hearers hear exactly the same parable. But the only ones that in any way become fruitful are those who get the point.

I have a feeling that Jesus told parables to get us used to the idea that God is speaking to us every day, and most people don't get it. There are various ways of trying to communicate to someone that "I love you." A lover could pick the right occasion and use the spoken word. Or a lover could send a love letter. There are also subtle signs for saying the same thing with one's eyes, or some flowers, a touch, a special kind of hug or a kiss.

God of course has hundreds of way of telling us he loves us. Just about everything in nature is a parable of the love of God. If children have loving parents, it is easy for them to get the idea that God loves them.

The Bible is a whole library of love stories and the tragedies of those who refuse the love of God. I hope this sermon will also convey the love of God to you. God can use sickness and health, good times and tough times.

And the Holy Spirit is always at hand to give us insight to understand.

The problem is that many people just don't get it. The word isn't received. Or there is a brief enthusiasm that soon dries up. It is easy for "the cares of the world and the lure of wealth" to choke off the love of God in our hearts. But the good news is that if we will pay attention to the parables of the kingdom, and all the other parables of life, and let them work in us, we may not notice it but other people will wonder how we get to be so fruitful.

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