7.10.11 Pr10 Crazy Sower of Kingdom
  • For those who have not been to a Reading Phillies game in the last couple of years, one of the highlights of the between-inning entertainment is the CRAZY HOT DOG VENDOR.
    • This character is so popular, that he offers autographs between innings
    • This character is so popular, that you can buy a Crazy Hot Dog Vendor meal with lunchbox for your child, or a Crazy Hot Dog Vendor Tee shirt for yourself in the souvenir store
    • But what makes the Crazy Hot Dog Vendor so popular?
      • Well there's an amusing video that introduces him
      • Then he enters the stadium "riding" on a bucking ostrich
      • But then we see the real source of his popularity – the Crazy Hot Dog vendor reaches down into the canvas bag that's looped over one of his shoulders, pulls out hot dogs wrapped tightly in foil, and he THROWS them into the grandstand
      • People go wild!
      • Meanwhile the crazy vendor flings hot dog after hot dog into the bleachers!
      • And he flings them with wild, reckless abandon!
          • The Crazy Hot Dog Vendor flings hot dogs like the farmer in today's parable flings the seeds
          • The sower in Jesus' story is just a little crazy too!
                • It used to puzzle me why the seed in the parable would be thrown on the path, or in the rocks, or among the thorns – because after all seeds were precious in Jesus day, and any farmer worth his salt even back then knew enough to be careful and only scatter the seed on the good soil
                • Yet, the seed in the parable was flung just about everywhere with reckless abandon
                • Then on the one hand, some of the seed bore no fruit because of where it has fallen, but some of it bore a tremendous harvest
                • And make no mistake - the harvest was plentiful, because the yield of thirty, sixty, or a hundredfold was about four, eight or twelve times what a farmer could hope for back then
              • In this parable it seems that the Word of God, the Word of the Kingdom of God, has NOT been carefully and narrowly planted in this world – the Word of God, the Kingdom of God has been flung throughout the world with reckless abandon by God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
                • Yes, some people hear the Word and don't believe (evil, the cares of the world, and persecution DO take their toll)
                • But many DO believe solely because of the Word of God that they have heard
                  • Many believed then, and many more people believe now, that Jesus is the Christ, the ruler for creation – the Word, the seed took root
                  • Many people believed then, and many more believe now, that God's rule is breaking into this world to overthrow the brokenness and injustice that has so infected both individual lives and this world's societies and structures – the Word, the seen has taken root
                  • Many believe then, and many more people believe now, that the death and resurrection of Jesus announced the initial defeat of the powers of sin and death, so that not only people, but indeed all creation itself might one day be redeemed and restored – the Word, the seed continues to take root
          • God has been crazy and reckless in sowing the Word – the Word of God has been flung just about everywhere
          • Now think for a moment about the ministry of Jesus as we have heard it in the four gospels
          • Yes, sometimes Jesus spent his time, and taught among the people who would probably be considered the good soil – Jesus taught and worshiped in the temple and synagogues with the already devout and religious and some of them believed
          • But just as often, Jesus spent his time among the rocky, thorny, hard-trodden people of the world
            • He invited Matthew, a crooked tax collector and not really a good prospect for the kingdom of God, to follow him in discipleship
            • Jesus openly talked with and gave LIVING water to a women of loose morals – a woman who became a surprisingly articulate witness for Jesus the Messiah
            • And Jesus was often criticized because apparently he often ate with sinners and people of ill repute – people not regarded as prime candidates for lives of faith
            • Jesus spent time with the sinful, the poor, the sick, the hungry, and the grieving – he spent time with people with rocky lives, and he gave them faith, he gave them love, and Jesus gave them hope
            • In other words, Jesus had the capacity to go among the rocky, thorny and hard people, and purely as an act of grace, turn their lives into good soil where faith could not only take root but flourish
            • Today, the church, the people of God, has been entrusted to continue to proclaim the Word of God with the same crazy, reckless abandon that the sower did, and even more importantly that Jesus did so long ago
              • Sometimes the witness of the church as it proclaims the Good News of Jesus goes smoothly, and the result is an abundance of new disciples because the time is ripe, the people are ready and receptive, and God's Word does its work
              • But more often the witness of the church as it shares the Word of God is tough work, because the power of evil still entices, the cares of the world are a huge temptation in our culture, and though persecution here is incredibly low compared to many other places in the world, sometimes faith is mocked – yet the church, like Jesus, needs to work with people where they are, and share the Word where people work and live, and then more often than we may realize, God even replants the "hard cases" into good soil