Dressed in black shorts and red T-shirt underneath his finest black, pinstriped blazer and sporting a braided black fedora on his head to shade him, Ben Sower walked along the road. Miles behind him, Ben found the strength to place one foot forward again, and then again, searching for what he had not found.
Sweat layered his skin, soaking its distinctness in his clothing. By now, Ben had become desensitized to the smell of himself along with the stains from the bird droppings on his blazer and fedora. Besides, he had endured worse. With each step, his feet, now sore and recovering from infection, reminded him of the cuts he suffered from jagged rocks along the way. He ignored scabs on his legs, remnants of briars pricking him. But he kept on. Only his mission mattered.
He felt some comfort knowing the pouch he carried became lighter as he passed along its contents to those he met along the way, though he knew them to be less than sincere. Some contents had spilled and immediately withered in the sun. Some were lost in the brambles. He consoled himself thinking he remained faithful to his mission. Pressing on, he kept searching for what he had not found to give away what no one would receive.
And then, as if fatigue deranged his imagination or as if by miracle or luck, as he rubbed his eyes to see ahead, a crossroad appeared. And there at the junction was a signpost. The signpost pointed this way and that way, to places named Wayside, Stumble, Desire and straight ahead — Harvest. He took a deep breath, drew water from his pouch, stilled himself and drank.
And then, Ben sensed a presence watching him. Aware, he looked around to see if anyone was near. And there, straight ahead, he saw a young child, maybe ten years in span.
Hello there, Ben said. “Hello,” the child responded. What is your name? Ben asked. “Will” came the reply, “Will Sower.” Well, well! We must be kin, Ben said. Hello, Will. My name is Ben Sower. “Pleased to meet you, sir.”
Young Will, I have been on a journey looking for what I have not found, giving freely a message to folks who do not receive it.
Will asked, “What is it you seek and what message do you give?” I seek only someone who will hear my word, and hearing it, will receive it with gladness and pass it on a hundredfold.
Ben hesitated and thought. He had been unsuccessful in Wayside and Stumble and Desire. But maybe young Will possessed a fertile mind. So, Ben pulled from his pouch a book. Inside the book was a message with words expressing truth, seeds for a fertile mind.
Hearing it, Will went home to Harvest, a town of 100 people, and told his tale.
And now you have heard the parable of Ben Sower, the sower who went out.
For those who have ears — read Mark 4: 3-20.