Today’s readings (click below to open in new tab/window):
Psalms 12; 146, Ezra 5:1-17, Revelation 4:1-11, Matthew 13:1-9
In the Parable of the Sower, a man casts seeds across many types of ground. Some of it is a bare path where the birds can snatch it up. Some of it is rocky and rootless. Some is thorny and inhospitable. And finally, some of it is good soil. The different types of ground, Jesus eventually explains to his disciples, represent the different types of people who hear the Gospel.
Not much is said about the sower, who may be Jesus, but who may also be anyone (or everyone) spreading the Good News. Would we consider this sower a good steward of his responsibilities? It sounds like an awful lot of seed went to waste. Why weren’t his efforts more focused? Was he unable to tell good soil from bad? Maybe. Maybe not. In the end, each type of soil yielded or did not as was its nature … but the sower left no ground without potential.
When it comes to spreading grace, or acts inspired by grace, stewardship takes on a new dimension. Funds may be limited, but generosity is not. Physical resources may be limited, but love is not. Time and talents may be limited, but forgiveness is not. So why be stingy with generosity, love, or forgiveness? Even if they don’t yield what we would hope, we don’t run out of them. They are meant to be cast about widely – almost irresponsibly – because they aren’t about what we get back.
Are some people going to take advantage of our good nature? Almost certainly. Are some people never going to “get it together” despite our best efforts to support them? Definitely. Is it our job to size them up in advance and decide whether or not to waste our efforts? Or to withhold that seed in a clenched fist, as though there’s a finite supply, until we find the exactly right spot to sow it?
If we want to be sowers like the one in the parable … it is not. So sow.
It’s a balancing act. We want to be wise about how we steward finite resources to meet needs, but we also want to be wise about which resources were never ours to keep anyway.
Comfort: The more generous you are, the less you will need.
Challenge: When you find yourself withholding what you have received through grace, meditate on why.
Prayer: Because the poor are despoiled, because the needy groan, may the Lord now rise up, and may we follow. (based on Psalm 12:5)
Discussion: Do you think your definition of who “deserves” grace is the same as God’s?
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