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When a great crowd gathered and people from town after town came to him, he said in a parable: “A sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell on the path and was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. Some fell on the rock; and as it grew up, it withered for lack of moisture. Some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew with it and choked it. Some fell into good soil, and when it grew, it produced a hundredfold.” As he said this, he called out, “Let anyone with ears to hear listen!”
Then his disciples asked him what this parable meant. He said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God; but to others I speak in parables, so that ‘looking they may not perceive, and listening they may not understand.’
‘Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. The ones on the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. The ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe only for a while and in a time of testing fall away. As for what fell among the thorns, these are the ones who hear; but as they go on their way, they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. But as for that in the good soil, these are the ones who, when they hear the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patient endurance.”
Back when I was a kid, a comedian named Henry Gibson would recite a poem written by Frank L. Stanton entitled “Keep A-Goin.” And this is how the first verse went:
Ef you strike a thorn or rose,
Ef it hails, or ef it snows,
'Taint no use to sit an' whine,
When the fish ain't on yer line;
Bait yer hook an' keep a-tryin'—
Of course, the intention of this poem is simple and clear. It’s to remind us that we might need to keep our focus on the task at hand and not to become distracted by all the stuff that we might encounter along the way. You see, when difficulties arise, we need to tighten our belts, stiffen our chins and keep a-goin.
And I’ll tell you, I think that’s the point of both the parable and the interpretation we read in Luke. You see, as we scatter of the seeds, in other words, as we spread the good news, we need to understand that some of the seed will never have the chance to take root and become fruitful. That’s just the way it is. But we also know that some will, because we know that there’s some awful good soil out there. And for that reason, even though some will produce nothing at all, other seed will be incredibly productive. And that’s why, the very best thing we can do is to keep a-goin.