In the parable of the sower in Luke 8:4–8, Jesus told of four settings upon which the scattered seed fell: hard ground, stony ground, thorny ground, and good ground. The soil conditions were different, but the one constant was the seed. In explaining the parable to His disciples in verses 9–15, Jesus left no room for speculation about what the seed represented: “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God” (v. 11).
The Apostle Peter also used seed as a metaphor in his first epistle when he wrote, “You have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God . . . and this word is the good news that was preached to you” (1 Peter 1:23, 25). Jesus, who with a word called Lazarus from the grave, is through His everlasting, ever-living Word bringing new life to all who believe on Him—often in the most unexpected ways and unlikely places. Here is one such story.
In the early years of World War II, Nazi Germany invaded the little Baltic country of Estonia. Arpad was a young, fervent Estonian nationalist who joined the partisans in the forests to fight the Germans. After some months, he was captured and put in prison in Tallinn. Later, a captured Russian soldier who had parachuted behind German lines joined Arpad in his cell.
The paratrooper had initially been sent to a prison camp in Germany with other Russian soldiers before being sent to Tallinn to be executed as a spy. While in Germany, the Russian prisoners had been given copies of the Scripture by some bold German believers. And so, Arpad’s Russian cellmate brought the Bible with him. However, as a sincere, committed Communist, he had little interest in it. When the spy was taken out to be executed, one of his last acts was to give Arpad his Russian Bible. Arpad had nothing better to do in prison, so he read this book. The seed fell on good ground, and Arpad believed.
The Russians eventually captured Tallinn, and Arpad was released and fought the Nazis through the rest of the war. With the defeat of Germany, Arpad had the opportunity to go to the West to begin a new life there. However, as he thought and prayed about it, he felt God’s call to stay and serve Christ. Arpad became a pastor and was active in underground Bible printing and smuggling operations throughout the Soviet Union. He continued to sow the seed of God’s Word just as it had been sown in his life.
There is another constant in the parable of the sower: the sower himself. We, too, have a role in all this by giving out the Word. Those German believers took risks, went to their enemies in prison, and gave them Bibles. They would never see the extent of the harvest that came from their bold sowing, but the Word did its work. Where are you sowing the life-giving seed?