Imagine Jesus sitting on the beach, staring out to sea.
Was He tired? Discouraged? The Bible doesn’t tell us why He left the house, walked past His mother and brothers to the edge of the Galilee and sat down. He stared at the horizon. If this did for Him what it does for us, it reminded Him of eternity. That’s where the similarity ends. His view of eternity was different from any that we could ever have. We cannot know what was in His mind. He had laid aside divinity for humanity for the purposes of the great Redemption plan for a lost mankind.

Perhaps He had to get away for a moment from the hard-hearted Pharisees who had just accused Him of being in league with the devil. As He sat there studying the horizon where the sky and sea danced together in the sun, the multitude gathered behind Him. They were not looking for a sign; they wanted the reality—they wanted Him. A boat was tied up close by. He climbed aboard and cast just a few feet from the shore. The water acted as an amplifier projecting His voice to the crowd. As he sat in the boat, He started teaching. He didn’t need to speak loudly; along with the reflection of the water, the crowd was hushed, consuming each word.

The Sower, the Seeds, and the Soul
He shared one of His most well-known parables, the one about sowing and reaping. The people understood this better than most of us do today. The application for us is simple but profound: life is a process of sowing things and reaping the results. The assumption is that the sower will sow good seed. The opposite is true, too, as people choose to deal in hate, in deception, in avarice, in lust, in thievery and in all manner of evil seed. Rich rewards may come quickly, themselves a deception, but the long term harvest will be one of destruction. Count on it. The sower in Jesus’ story is a good man who has good seed to sow. He deals in love, truth, honesty, proper affections, and trust. These are the seeds of the Kingdom of God, “good seed,” the Bible calls these things.

The Elements of Chance
Even in this holy enterprise, there are strong elements of chance, things beyond the control of the sower.

  • Some of the seed fell beside the path and fed the birds, never having a chance to germinate and grow.
  • Other precious seeds fell in stony places where there was little soil. Plants grew from these seeds but their roots were not strong. The heat of the sun proved too much so they withered to nothing.
  • Still other seeds fell on good ground and grew to be healthy plants. Along with the good plants, weeds grew also, eventually stealing the water, the sun, and the air, choking the good plant so that no fruit was ever produced.
  • Only some of the seed fell on good ground free from thorns and weeds. These plants produced so much fruit they made up for the unsuccessful planting.

Why this element of chance? Because Jesus was talking about people and people have a choice. The sower’s job is to sow the seed; he does not control what others do with it.

A Life Lesson
Do the work! Sow the seed! Leave to God the results. A harvest is guaranteed if we do not give up.

Matthew 13:1-9
On the same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the sea. And great multitudes were gathered together to Him, so that He got into a boat and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore. Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: “Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
Psalm 126:5-6
They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.
2 Corinthians 9:6
But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
Galatians 6:7-10
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.

Lord Jesus, thank You for the precious seed, the good seed! You have given me the ingredients to make a fruitful life. Remind me that the more of this seed I scatter into the lives of the people in my path, the more I will have to give. This seed is marvelous stuff! Praise and worship unto You, deeds of mercy and kindness to others, and deep personal holiness in my heart—all these things are from You. When I scatter these things as I walk through this life, You will bring the harvest promised. Help me to never grow weary in this well-doing. I know I will see an abundant harvest for Your glory. Thank You, Lord Jesus! Amen.

Bringing in the Sheaves
Words: Knowles Shaw; Music: George A. Minor

1.  Sowing in the morning, sowing seeds of kindness,
Sowing in the noontide and the dewy eve;
Waiting for the harvest, and the time of reaping,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.

Bringing in the sheaves, bringing in the sheaves,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves;
Bringing in the sheaves, bringing in the sheaves,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.

2.  Sowing in the sunshine, sowing in the shadows,
Fearing neither clouds nor winter’s chilling breeze;
By and by the harvest, and the labor ended,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.


3.  Going forth with weeping, sowing for the Master,
Tho’ the loss sustained our spirit often grieves;
When our weeping’s over, He will bid us welcome,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.


Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

TheJesusStory devotions are also found at

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