The Gospel of Mark | Four Soils – Part 1 | Mark 4.3-9 |

by | Nov 18, 2023

The Gospel of Mark | Four Soils – Part 1 | | Mark 4.3-9

“Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.” 9 Then Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” Mark 4.3-9

This is a parable familiar to many and one in which Jesus explains in the verses that follow. Its one of the few parable Jesus offers and then gives an immediate explanation.

The parable is about four types of soils in which a farmer goes out to sow seed. We know from the verses that follow that this sowing is a gospel-preaching, soul-winning, salvation-offering story. As we hear Jesus’ teaching, we learn there are three types of soil that fail in there attempt to grow crops. 

The first seed falls among the path there the birds came and at it up, v.4. The second falls among rocky places where there wasn’t much dirt. It springs up quickly but then dies because the soil is shallow, v. 5. The third falls among thorns which choke out the plants so that it can not produce grain, v.7. But the final falls on good soil and it produced a very rich crop, v.8.

Now I’ve always looked at this gospel preaching as pretty ineffective. Four seeds but only one takes root? Thats a seventy five percent fail rate! Only one fourth of our efforts produce a return. But in truth, the productivity of the final crop makes up for the loss of the other seeds. For although only one falls upon good soil, the yield of that crop is multiplied thirty, sixty and even a hundred times what was sown.

First, the fruitfulness of the crop does not depend upon our efforts. We are like the farmer and we just sow the seed. God produces the fruit. Second, what we think might not be fruitful farming will completely surprise us when seed sown on good soil takes off. We can not realize the amazing results of what is to follow once we faithfully obey and proclaim the message of God’s grace.

Think about the first disciples. Jesus grew a group of just a few fishermen into a multi-billion following with a global impact that has spanned two thousand years without sign of slowing down. The impact of the Church across the millennium is immense. Nations have been built on the principals of Christ. Organizations, educational and medical institutions have joined churches in proclaiming the goodness of God. 

And yet, each generation must determine for itself which “god” they are going to follow for the rest of their lives. Which means our job of preaching the gospel and sowing seeds is on-going. It does not start or stop with us. We are simply conduits of the Holy Spirit to spread hope to the current and future generations.

“O Lord God, you are good. Thank you for loving us. Thank you for the goodness of your grace and the hope of your gospel. Come now, Holy Spirit, fill me with your power and love. Help me take the gospel to the nations so that the world might know. I love you Lord and praise your name. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen