Preface: We may be intellectually convinced of His existence, the truth of the gospel, and the Second Coming. We may even have seen for ourselves the reality of God’s love and care. Yet we may not be ready to commit ourselves fully to Him, an action that would be revealed by our works. The Bible emphasizes the importance of being doers, not just hearers, of the Word.
In the solid clay of his fields, the Dutch farmer ploughed straight furrows, his eyes focused on one spot on the horizon. Year after year he won the Golden Plough award for the straightest furrow. The turned clay, showing its obvious fertility, was ready to conceive. The seed would die and create new life in multiplication. The pride of winning the Golden Plough could not exceed his joy over an ocean of waving grain. And later, when the wind turned the wings of the mill, the distinctive smell of new flour would be an even greater reward. The straight furrow was not his ultimate goal.
The sower is a communicator, establishing communication between the seeds and the soil. He is also a facilitator. He brings the factors for growth together by watering and fertilizing the fields and by counteracting natural disasters. A better word for “sower” would be “farmer,” of course. He doesn’t just sow! He cultivates the soil, chooses the brand of seeds and scatters them, nurtures the plants, eliminates the weeds, and gathers in the harvest. He’s involved in the process from the beginning to the end: from the straight furrow to fresh bread on the table. And when the bread is sliced and shared, the goal is achieved.
The servants in the parable of the great banquet are facilitators too. Their ultimate goal: filling up the hall with invitees.
In communicating with one another we are using media. For a long time we believed that “the medium is the message,” and then someone came up with “the medium is the massage.” This is based on our experience with media like cinema and TV, which became forceful and manipulative.
Sowers and servants, the two kinds of media portrayed in the parables, are “vessels” bearing God’s name (Acts 9:15) “for the master’s use” (2 Tim. 2:21, KJV). In the NIV the word “instrument” is used, although the original Greek word means “vase.” Merchants of Athens displayed their produce—beans, nuts, and herbs—outside their shops in large vessels. Passersby are drawn by the sight of an abundance of legumes and nuts while their nostrils are lured by the fragrance of herbs and spices.
The sower and the master of the house and his servants are all instrumental in providing bread for the spiritual hungry. “Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God” (Luke 14:15). Sharing bread in heaven with the redeemed is God’s ultimate goal. This statement triggered Jesus to tell the story of the banquet in Luke 14:15‒23. Jesus’ answer is worth pondering: “Don’t take anything for granted. You’d better be serious! Heaven can’t wait.”