A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down…
If the farmer wish to throw into one his separated fields, and make the old roadway part of his productive soil, he knows that the very causes of its hardness have added some fertilizing elements, and that only deep and thorough tillage is needed to accomplish his purpose. But he carefully chooses the time to put in the plough. He does not begin his work when the frost has bound the land in its icy fetters, nor when the drought and heat have reduced it to stony hardness. But meantime he is diligently removing the fences and clearing away, as opportunity may offer, the obstructions which have accumulated. And then some day, when he sees it softened by gentle showers, which the shading clouds have allowed to soak into its bosom, he ploughs deep and harrows thoroughly, and lo, the work is done I In the same way must we deal with this indifference to religion. If we attack such a man when his heart is cold and careless, or when some angry spirit of controversy warms him into resistance, we shall meet only disappointment. In fact, we are sure to be disappointed if we attack him at all. We must wait patiently and watch closely. We must gently and quietly remove as we may the barriers which most frequently we have ourselves erected about him. So long as we keep him fenced out from the companionship and familiar intercourse of pious people, we can make no impression upon him. It was not John the Baptist, but Jesus the Christ who was the friend of publicans and sinners. If we seek the society of such people, and show interest and pleasure in their company, at first they may be shy, but we shall soon see that pass. If we are careful not to obtrude our religion upon them they will always be careful not to make their irreligion offensive to us. And then some time, when the clouds of sorrow have overshadowed them, and the gentle rain of kindly sympathy has softened the hard crust of reserve, God gives us our opportunity, and we may drop the rich seed of His saving truth into the deep furrows which lie open in the mellowed soil. Who knows but that when the harvest season comes, we may trace the old roadway all through the burdened field by the line of heavier sheaves which it has ripened!
(R. Wilson, M. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it.