Matthew 13:8-9 Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear."

Sometimes a riddle is a good way to begin thinking - so here is the riddle: what has ears that do not hear? The right answer can depend on who you are, for parents and teachers, the thing that has ears that do not hear are their children, because whenever parents and teachers are talking, children are often not paying attention, and so parents and teachers will often end with the question - did you hear what I said? Children will usually say, yes, but when they are asked to repeat it - they can't quite remember. You see our ears are for something more than holding up eyeglasses, or for decorating with earrings - the one thing ears were made for was, for hearing. Now, there are other people who know the real answer to the riddle: what has ears that do not hear? Its corn!

If ears are for hearing, what are seeds for? That's no riddle, seeds were meant for growing, that the way God made seeds, they grow almost by themselves - we may use them for other purposes, but the thing that seeds do best is to grow.

Jesus tells this parable so that people can see that just as seeds grow, so the faith that God works through the word, is also meant for growing. But as there are obstacles to the growth of seeds, so also there are obstacles to the growth of faith. Our parable talks about these obstacles:

For seeds to grow they must be planted in the soil, but not all soil is the same:

The hard ground of the path

Rocky ground with no depth

Good ground with choking thorn

Just good ground

Now if seeds and faith share things in common, the ground can explain why the same seeds don't always yield the same results. So how is our faith grounded?

The hard ground of the path

Could this be those who hear but do not listen, or who are waiting for another day?

Rocky ground with no depth

Good start, but wither because they have no root in word and sacrament

Good ground with choking thorn

Cares of the world take over our lives

Just good ground

Bears fruit all by itself

So, if you are not corn, you must have ears to hear, if you see obstacles to your growing in faith, what are you going to do? OK, now what are you going to do, when you see others facing these obstacles? And that's why we have the church, because there are many obstacles to growing in faith, and so God has given us lots of people to encourage us, and to remind us of the treasure we have in Jesus - what is that treasure? Forgiveness! And Jesus forgiveness is so great, not only can he forgive us for not listening - but he can take us when were acting corny, and make us a new creation.