”Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable?14 The farmer sows the word. 15 Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. 16 Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy.17 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 18 Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. 20 Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.” Mark 4.13-20
This parable was important enough that Jesus explained it very clearly. Where else does he do this? Rarely does Jesus explain a parable in such detail. It makes me wonder why he did so. Perhaps it’s because the content of this parable has eternal significance?
The four types of soil produce four types of response — three become fruitless but one is highly productive. The first three lack commitment and follow through. They involve the devil “snatching away what was sown,” lack of any meaning “root,” worries, the deceit of wealth and uncertainty about the future. The eyes and heart of those who do not produce fruit get distracted by the world and lured in by the devil.
But those who bear fruit, oh, they are mighty! They produce wonderful fruit because these seed of the gospel was thrown onto healthy life-giving soil. These are the people who produce a crop yielding thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times what was sown.
It dawns on me that the type of soil which receives the seed matters. The seed is always good – there is no problem with the Word that goes out. The problem lies with our response to the Word. Do we receive the Word of Christ by faith? If so, we are able to bear much fruit as we abide in Jesus (John 15). But if the condition of our souls do not change, and we fail to receive the Word and believe it fully, then we bear no fruit and will never enjoy the salvation for which Christ as promised.
Every youth minister, for example, sees this repeated over and over in ministry. Often youth receive Christ at camp but soon after, many students begin to fall away from the faith for the reasons given above. However, some do receive the Word and believe and those are the young people who devote their lives to Christ and never fail to move forward in their faith. Although walking with Christ does have its ups and downs, are we are human and continue to have a sin nature, pressing onward to win the prize for which Christ has called us heavenward is possible.
Have you received the gift of salvation? Have you heard the Word and welcomed Christ into your life? Why not become a sower yourself? Do not merely hear the Word, do what it says, and become the disciple Christ has called you to be.
”O Lord God, I am thankful for your great love for humanity, Thank you for loving me. Even when I fall away, when I am weak and struggle with the lure of the world, you do not forsake me. Come now, Holy Spirit, fall upon me. Take my life and let it be consecrated Lord to Thee!. For you are good and your life endures forever.” Amen