Reflections: Thursday the First Week of Lent

March 2, 2023 

Today’s Reading: 

Daily Lectionary: Gen. 11:27-12:20, Mark 4:1-20 

“Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path…Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil…Other seed fell among thorns…And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain…” (St. Mark 4:3-8) 

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. This Gospel text tends to cause a lot of navel-gazing. It makes us look at ourselves too much; and sometimes, we use this text to judge others, too. We try too hard to figure out which kind of soil we (and the people around us) are. We look too much at ourselves and others and forget the whole point of what is happening here at the very heart of the text. So, let’s focus on the sower. 

Today’s farmers are very meticulous. Soil analysis, moisture content, drainage, nutrient levels—these all contribute to a successful harvest. The sower seems a bit foolish when you look at things that way. We are all about harvesting the most produce with the least amount of input. But the sower is just foolish. 

He throws the seed all over the place, flinging it all over the ground with not the least bit of care as to where it lands. Sure, he ultimately gets a good crop that produces thirty, sixty, and a hundred times more than he planted, but what about the wasted seed? 

What about it, indeed? Later, Jesus says this seed is the Word of God, and the types of soil reflect the types of people who hear it. Yes, it is imperative to be the soil in which the Word grows, but you didn’t make yourself that good soil, did you? The Sower has already plowed and prepared that soil to receive the Word. 

Isaiah proclaims that God’s Word never returns to him empty; it always accomplishes what He sets out to do. So also with you. God’s Word has been landing in the soil of your ears for years. The Holy Spirit has been at work, creating and sustaining your faith. Plowing and turning the ‘soil’ within you so that you might reflect that faith to those around you. 

The Word of God will continue to be scattered upon the earth, and there will be places and times when it lands on the road, between rocks, or among thorns. Thanks be to God that he, by the power of that same Word, can change even those hostile places into fertile ground to produce saving faith in the most unlikely places! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. 

Blessed Lord, You have caused all Holy Scriptures to be written for our learning. Grant that we may so hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them that, by patience and comfort of Your holy Word, we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. (Collect for the Word) 

-Pastor Duane Bamsch is the Pastor at Grace Lutheran Church in Grass Valley, CA  and the President of Higher Things.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Patrick Sturdivant, Development and Marketing Executive at Higher Things.

Study Christ’s words on the cross to see how you can show more Christlike grace in your life. Perfect for group or individual study, each chapter has a Q&A at the end, and the back of the book includes a leader guide. Available now from Concordia Publishing House.