Most of us are familiar with the parable of the seed sown on the four types of ground - there is seed that is snatched away, seed that grows but doesn't develop roots, seed that is choked out by thorns all around it, and good seed, which produces an abundant harvest.
But here's the thing about the good seed that we don't often think about and don't even hear preached all that much - it produces enough to feed a lot of hungry people.
What we often think is that the good seed just becomes beautiful and abundant. Everyone passing by looks at it with awe and wonder, exclaiming, "Oh my! What a good and beautiful field that is, growing all of that abundance! How blessed it must be!" And we want to be good fruit so that when everyone looks at us, they see good fruit and they are in awe and amazed at what good fruit that we are. A hundred times anything that we ought to be on our own! We have become an abundance because of the blessing of the good Lord who loves us!
That's not what the parable says, though. Not once does the parable say how impressed everyone else will be at the crop of the good seed. Not once does it say how the spectators will marvel at the glorious goodness of the harvest. Not once.
What it says is that a lot of hungry people will be able to eat off that good seed.
And that really changes the way we have to think about our own faith, doesn't it? Your faith is not abundant so that others will be impressed by how beautiful it is or how glorious you look; your faith is abundant because it is meant to nourish others. You're not supposed to build storehouses; you're supposed to set tables.
Most of us don't lean that way. We want our faith to be a reflection on us. We want others to see how good we are because, well, look at us. We're downright abundant. We want others to see our joy and our blessedness and our crop and think what good seed we are.
But our faith was never meant to be a reflection on us; it was meant to be a reflection on Him. It was never meant to show others how good we are, but how good He is. He is the one who is downright abundant. He is the source of our joy and blessedness.
Imagine things the other way, just for a minute. Imagine if you weren't good soil. Imagine if your life was getting choked out by thorns, just to borrow an example from the parable. Wouldn't you want someone with a harvest to share? Wouldn't you want a crop that has more than it could have ever imagined to give you more than you can hope for from where you're at?
That's what it is - it is blessed beyond imagination sharing with despaired beyond hope. It's the sharing not of food, but of sustenance - the kind of hope that sustains the soul. It's setting tables not to feed, really, but to welcome. To make a place for those whose soil is just not in season, to make this their season.
Sure, we could stand up, puff out our chests, and say, look how beautiful I am. Such good soil.
But that's not what good soil is for.
Let us sit down, thresh wheat together, and say, look how beautiful God is. Such a good God.
Because we have what it takes to feed a lot of hungry people. And that's what the crop is for.