Tag Archives: Matthew 13

Knowledge, Understanding, & Wisdom

Parables, parables, parables. We are in a season of parables.

But, there is a thread throughout the whole of our scriptures this morning.
It is wisdom, from King Solomon to Paul’s letter, to Jesus’ parables.

Solomon, son of King David, is essentially offered a magical Genie lamp.
God comes to Solomon and asks ‘what do you want? Whatever is your heart’s desire, I will give you. I encourage you to ponder, what would your response have been? What is your heart’s desire?

Solomon asked for wisdom, although it was not the language used in scripture. Solomon asked for the ability to discern the ‘right’ (or wise) choices, not for his own benefit but for the benefit of the people that he had been placed in authority over.

Wisdom, understanding, and knowledge are not quite the same things.
We can know something intellectually and not understand it.
We can understand something and still not have the wisdom to apply it.

As seen online, but adapted…
Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
Understanding is knowing a tomato is a fruit because of the seeds.
Wisdom is knowing that you do not put tomato in a fruit salad. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on July 28, 2020 in Sermons


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Sorting Wheat & Weeds: Cautionary Tale

Our Scriptures are especially intertwined through exploring the nature of God, our identity in Christ, and the theodicy question. Theodicy is the fancy term for the common question: ‘why does suffering and evil exist’, especially if God is all-powerful and all-loving.

Isaiah reminds the exiled Israelites that God is eternal and has a personal relationship with us. Additionally, God is our true King who rescues and protects us.

The Psalmist reminds us that God is our ever-patient, compassionate, and kind teacher of divine truth.

Paul, in his letter to the Romans, reminds us that God is our perfect parent.

And thus, we are called into a personal relationship with God, who has named and redeemed us.

We are called to be engaged students seeking to learn the divine truth from God whole-heartedly.

We are called to be children of God, who are co-heirs with Christ in the Kingdom to Come.

Our Parable of the Tares, or Weeds, addresses the theodicy question while rooted in the nature of God and our identity in Christ. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on July 19, 2020 in Sermons


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The Sower and the Soil

As I began to prepare for this sermon, I was struggling with the scripture.

The ‘Parable of the Sower/Soil’ is not the most infamous scripture or parable, but it is well known and of importance as it is included in all of the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke).

The struggle was because as a preacher, it is my responsibility to explore the scriptures and interpret how it might apply to our current time and place. Yet, it seemed the interpretation was done and provided on a silver platter.

Since our lectionary is a three-year cycle, I returned to the first time I preached this parable six years ago and I began it sharing that it was the first parable I preached and the process taught me that I hate preaching on parables. Why? The Gospel authors always include the interpretation of the parable on a silver platter saying “and here is what this means”. Thus, as the preacher, I am left asking ‘what else am I to say about it’.

Then, I read this quote on a colleague’s Facebook page providing a little motivation and inspiration.

Jesus’ parable did not deliver prepackaged meaning but challenged the hearer to respond. Parables are open-ended narrative metaphors that generate new meaning in new situations. While a parable cannot mean simply anything (it is not a Rorschach ink blot), it “teases the mind into active thought” in such a way that the hearer himself or herself must actively participate in deciding what the parable means, i.e., how the hearer should respond to it. Parables thus often function by beginning in the familiar world of the hearer but then presenting a different vision of the world that challenges the everyday expectations of the hearer.

So, how do we hear a familiar parable paired with an interpretation handed to us on a silver platter in a ‘new’ light that relates to our time and lives? Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on July 15, 2020 in Sermons


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Hidden Parables


Our texts on Sunday came from Matthew chapter 13 and it is a collection of parables.
Parables are challenging to preach on, because usually an explanation accompanies them limiting how you can translate or interpret that into our time and our place.
All of these parables are talking about the kingdom of God and all these parables talk about how the kingdom is hidden.

The first one we have is how the kingdom of God is like a mustard seed, small but grows up to be a mighty bush. It calls to mind the story about how if we have faith the size of a mustard seed. Mustard seeds are not the smallest seeds in the world, but they are pretty mighty; in addition to growing huge bushes, they also took the bland foods of Biblical times and added spice to it. Bishop Richard Jaech at our Southwestern Washington Synod Assembly stated that we, as Lutherans, need to be like mustard seeds, “spicy”. The kingdom of God is small, and its mighty, and its flavorful, and its spicy; so is our role within it. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on August 1, 2017 in Sermon Summaries


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Sorting the Wheat and Weeds


Today, we have another one of those agricultural parables.

Last week, we had one about good soil, about seeds being thrown out as many would consider kind of foolishly. Some landing on a rocky path to be ate by birds; some falling in shallow soil, where they grow quickly but are easily uprooted; And others that fall among weeds and thorns, and they grow but are choked out by the worries and concerns of the world.

Today, we have the one of the wheat and the weeds.

I am not good at growing plants. If it doesn’t make noise, I tend to forget to take care of it. But, I do know that you don’t usually want to let weeds hang out in our garden. And yet, that is precisely what we have in our parable today.

Why wouldn’t it be easy to identify what these weeds are in comparison to wheat?
There seems to be a question about how to remove it without taking the good wheat along with it.

In Jesus’ time, there was a common practice of revenge which was to take seeds for darnel which is a weed, a poisonous weed, that looks like wheat. The common practice of revenge in that day was to planet these bad seeds among the good seeds of your enemy so that when the wheat started growing, the weeds would be growing right along side. It was challenging to tell the difference.

I don’t think that is too hard of a concept for us to get in our time and in our place. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on July 27, 2017 in Sermons


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“Foolishly” Throwing the Seeds: the Parable of the Sower

Text: Matthew 13: 1-9, 18-23

We are shifting our focus to Jesus’ teaching moments. He seemed to enjoy teaching in parables. As I pondered on the gospel this week, I realized that I have never preached on a parable. Also, I am always learning new things about myself, for example I am not a fan of preaching on the parables.

Let me clarify. It is not the parable, but the parable is ALWAYS paired with an explanation. This explanation can, and often does, feel restrictive for the potential messages to be preached. As a preacher, I have been called to interpret the texts, to breath new life into them, and to share that with all of you. These parable interpretations, however, seem to offer the end product of that process on a silver platter. So, I must tackle the challenge and offer new life into our text. Although I do not make promises, I will try to do just that.

This morning we have the “Parable of the Sower”. This farmer, or sower, is foolishly throwing the seed without caution to where they may fall. Some of these seeds fall in good, prepared soil. Some seeds fall upon a path where the birds eat them. Some seeds fall on rocky ground and was unable to root, so unfavorable weather killed them. Some seeds fall among other plants, which choke them.

I am a farmer’s daughter, although due to unfortunate circumstances my parents lost the farm before I was born. I was, however, raised with the mind-set and agricultural appreciation of a “farmer’s daughter”. I must confess though, I am glad that the family focused more on hogs than corn. My mother and I have black thumbs. My sister, who has degrees in Agribusiness, says if it doesn’t make noise she forgets to water (or feed) it.

But, even I know that a seed requires good soil, good weather, and water to grow. You don’t throw the seed out onto unprepared ground and expect it to grow, right?

We often focus our attention on the soil. This focus on the soil is restrictive. It is not only restrictive, but also self-centered and sinful. Yes, sinful. Martin Luther defined sin as being curved in on the self, or self-centeredness. We have made this parable become about us and our readiness or preparation to receive the seed of God’s word, which is grace. It also becomes about the readiness of others to receive the seed of God’s word (grace).   Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on July 15, 2014 in Sermons


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