And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground;…
We have in this a most simple, yet striking, representation of the business and, at the same time, of the helplessness of the spiritual husbandman. Unto the ministers of the gospel, who are the great moral labourers in the field of the world, there is entrusted the task of preparing the soil and of casting in the seed. And if they bring to this task all the fidelity and all the diligence of intent and single-eyed labourers; if they strive to make ready the ground by leading men to clear away the weeds of an unrighteous practice, and to apply the spade and ploughshare of a resistance to evil, and a striving after good; and if, then, by a faithful publication of the grand truths of the gospel, they throw in the seed of the Word, they have reached the boundary of their office and also of their strength; and are to the full as powerless to the making the seed germinate, and send forth a harvest, as the husbandman to the causing the valleys to stand thick with corn. And indeed, in the spiritual agriculture, the power of the husbandman is even more circumscribed than in the natural. With all the pains with which a minister of Christ may ply at the duties of his office, he can never be sure that the ground is fit for receiving the grain: he must just do always, what the tiller of the natural soil is never reduced to do, run the risk of casting the seed upon the rock, or of leaving it to be devoured by the fowls of the air.
Parallel VersesKJV: And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground;