Parable of the Undaunted Sower

The Rev. Nibs Stroupe proposes a daunting, then inspiring, interpretation of the parable Jesus tells in Matthew 13:1-9. Stroupe is the honorably retired pastor (in January 2017) of Oakhurst Presbyterian Church in Decatur, Georgia. He and this diverse congregation have lived through being daunted yet kept on in prophetic ministry together, living into an abundance of God's loving liberation.

From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: When Rev. Stroupe "came in Feb. 1983, the South Decatur church was located in one of the city’s toughest neighborhoods and drawing only about 40 worshippers for Sunday service. He and his wife, the Rev. Caroline Leach, co-pastored until her retirement [in 2015]. And the church gradually increased membership to 350..."

"....Stroupe wrote in an essay that Oakhurst draws 'people from the most divergent backgrounds - middle class professionals, blue-collar and pink-collar workers, welfare recipients, old, young, and very young, black, white, Asian, gay and straight.'”

When it comes to Matthew 13:1-9, Rev. Stroupe approaches it as a whole, looking for its core message, and he doesn't hide from the challenging truth Jesus tells in it: the seeds of God's love and liberation "are sown and grow in very hostile environments.

"Indeed, our parable today tells us how inefficient this process is: only 25 percent of the seeds sown will succeed." !!!!

Stroupe concludes: "Yet at its heart this parable is a story of hope and possibility, not because of the expertise of the sower. The sharing of the love of God happens not because of what we do or who we are, but because of who God is and what God is doing. The hearers of this story in every generation are reminded that we are asked to join God in this process of proclaiming the love of God. Most of the time we will never know when or where it will bear fruit, but bear fruit it will."


Rev. Stroupe's full reflections on Matthew 13:1-9 can be found in Connections: A Lectionary Commentary, Year A, Volume 3, pages 154-156, 2020.