“Consider the sower who went out to sow. As he was sowing, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Others fell on rocky ground, where there wasn’t much soil, and they sprang up quickly since the soil wasn’t deep. But when the sun came up they were scorched, and since they had no root, they withered. Others fell among thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them. Still others fell on good ground and produced a crop: some 100, some 60, and some 30 times what was sown. Anyone who has ears should listen!” Matthew 13:3-9.
In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus tells the above story about a person who scattered seed on four different types of soil. This parable is a story about the different conditions of our hearts as it relates to the receptivity of Jesus and His teachings.
Jesus Spoke in Parables
To start, I must explain that Jesus liked to talk in parables. A parable is simply a story using an everyday example that is meant to explain a deeper spiritual truth. While sowing seed is not something many of us partake in these days, Jesus was speaking to a group of people who lived in an agricultural society and would have been very familiar with the subject matter. However, similar to many of us today, they did not understand the underlying spiritual truth.
The Parable of the Sower
In this parable there is the sower, the seed and the soil. And there are four different types of soils on which the seed is scattered by the sower.
The four types of soil represent the different reactions that people can have to Jesus and His teachings. The first three types represent people who reject the teachings of Jesus while the last represents those who accept His teachings and then go on to teach it to others.
As you read through this, think about which type of soil you relate to and how receptive you are to hearing the truth of the gospel.
The Bird-Pecked Soil
Farmers usually scattered seed in their fields and birds were one of the biggest threats. That’s why farmers had to be non-discriminate and extra generous with how they spread the seeds to make sure enough was going to take root.
“When anyone hears the word about the kingdom and doesn’t understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the one sown along the path.” Matthew 13:19.
The first issue Jesus addresses is those who never internalize the gospel. Satan snatches the truth away before they can make any decision on whether they believe or not. Their hearts are never softened and they remain focused on the faltering things of the world.
The Rocky Soil
If the ground is too rocky there is no way for the seed to take root.
“And the one sown on rocky ground – this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy. Yet he has no root in himself, but is short-lived. When pressure or persecution comes because of the word, immediately he stumbles.” Matthew 13:20-21.
These people who hear the gospel run full speed ahead towards the altar to respond. They are willing to accept the gospel but as soon as it meets resistance they run the other way. They never develop their roots in Jesus Christ.
The Thorn-Filled Soil
This is the category that I can find myself falling into sometimes. Satan and the lures of this world can be incredibly deceptive at times.
“Now the one sown among the thorns—this is one who hears the word, but the worries of this age and the seduction of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.” Matthew 13:22.
This issue deals with people who hear the word and and do seem like they want to accept it. But as soon as worries or desires of culture arise they forget about the gospel and teaching it to others. It’s not that any of the distractions are wrong in and of themselves, but they capture the attention of the heart and turn it away from God. Once you replace one worry there are a thousand others waiting to take its place.
The Good Soil
Seed cast on good soil takes root and produces an overwhelming return.
“But the one sown on the good ground—this is one who hears and understands the word, who does bear fruit and yields: some 100, some 60, some 30 times what was sown.” Matthew 13:23.
This is the person who hears the gospel and allows it to seep in and take root in their hearts. They spread the Good News of the Gospel far and wide.
There are going to be people in your life who will or will not be receptive to the gospel. Stand firm in the truth and let Jesus sow the good soil in your life and in the lives of others.