Dear Theophilus… July 2018

Dear Theophilus

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne of the most familiar parables that Jesus told is known as the parable of the sower. Jesus isn’t recorded as actually giving it that name, and in many ways that is not the best name for it; it would be more accurate to call it the parable of the soils. The parable is about a farmer who goes out to sow seed on his land. To do this we are told he scatters it across four different types of soil. This gives the sense of being both random and generous, something that is borne out by the fact that some of it falls on the path, some falls on rocky soil, some on thorny soil, and only some of it falls on good soil where it has the potential to grow and produce a harvest.

In his explanation of the parable, Jesus likens to seed to the word of God, the gospel, and the different soils to the different responses that people give to the gospel. For some the message is completely ignored and makes no impact. For others there is some interest and signs of life, but not enough depth of faith to overcome the problems of life. For others there is life and growth, but things come along to draw them away. For only some is there growth to maturity. But that doesn’t stop the farmer from sowing the seed.

It seems to me that, unlike most farmers, this farmer has an unlimited supply of seed which he is able to scatter randomly and generously, not worrying about the seed that fails to germinate, or germinates, but fails to thrive, but content in the knowledge that some of it will take root and grow.

I think there is a message for all of us here about approach to sharing our faith with our friends and family. How often do we fail to tell others about our faith in Jesus out of fear of not knowing what to say, or of being ridiculed, or of getting tongue-tied, or of not knowing how to answer their questions? I think this parable encourages us to share our faith whenever and wherever we get the opportunity, both randomly and generously, and not to worry about the response. Some of it, maybe much of it, will fail to take root and grow, but some or it, maybe only a fraction of it, will take root, grow and produce a harvest. But, for the sake of the few who will respond, should we not overcome our fears and share our faith in Jesus whenever we get the opportunity, both randomly and generously?


Theophilus is the guy for whom Luke wrote the Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts. (Luke 1:3 and Acts 1:1) Theophilus means ‘Lover of God’ so, if you love God, it was written for you!