The Sower and the Seed

I think the parable of the Sower and the Seed speaks to Christians and our walk in this world more than any other parable that Jesus spoke. It demonstrates our responsibility to grow into Jesus by absorbing the Word of God. You see, the message goes out to all who hear it, but it is what we do with the message that makes all the difference in our lives. This parable richly illustrates that point.

Mark 4:3-20 (CEV – Contemporary English Version) in bold print

“Now listen! A farmer went out to scatter seed in a field. While the farmer was scattering the seed, some of it fell along the road and was eaten by birds. Other seeds fell on thin, rocky ground and quickly started growing because the soil wasn't very deep. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched and dried up, because they did not have enough roots. Some other seeds fell where thornbushes grew up and choked out the plants. So they did not produce any grain. But a few seeds did fall on good ground where the plants grew and produced thirty or sixty or even a hundred times as much as was scattered.

“Then Jesus said, "If you have ears, pay attention."

“When Jesus was alone with the twelve apostles and some others, they asked him about these stories. He answered: I have explained the secret about God's kingdom to you, but for others I can use only stories. The reason is, "These people will look and look, but never see. They will listen and listen, but never understand. If they did, they would turn to God, and he would forgive them."

“Jesus told them: If you don't understand this story, you won't understand any others.

“What the farmer is spreading is really the message about the kingdom. (1) The seeds that fell along the road are the people who hear the message. But Satan soon comes and snatches it away from them.” The CEV translation then adds in parentheses the following explanation of what Jesus said: “(These are the people who hear the Word of God, but slough it off and go their own way.)” Actually, that is an accurate way of interpreting that passage. You see, Satan keeps these people from thinking seriously about the kingdom message. (2) “ The seeds that fell on rocky ground are the people who gladly hear the message and accept it right away.” I think they may indeed be Born Again believers. These people might not be Christian (I cannot say emphatically that they are). But they hear the Word and think it has merit, and they do something about it because it is obvious in this passage that they come under attack. “But they don't have any roots, and they don't last very long. As soon as life gets hard or the message gets them in trouble, they give up.” Many Christians fall into this category of not having any roots for their faith to hold on to. “(These are people who get excited about the Word and accept it as true, but do not search out the Word. They do not build up a foundation in their minds and souls that can stand up to criticism and rough times.) They do not dig into the Word to learn God’s will in their lives. They think everything will be easy in life now that they have the inside road to Christ. So, when trouble, criticism, and rough times come they falter and fall. (3) “The seeds that fell among the thornbushes are also people who hear the message. But they start worrying about the needs of this life. They are fooled by the desire to get rich and to have all kinds of other things.” I believe these people are Born Again believers. “So the message gets choked out, and they never produce anything.” This is perhaps the easiest and saddest trap for Christians to fall into, and one that I am personally familiar with. When things are going easy for them the need of the Lord does not seem very acute. They get involved with things of the world as I did – the desire to get rich and to have things. The world is very cunning and it entangled me in its web of ambitions of getting rich or at least financially secure. These things are supposedly “good things,” just not God things. But these things distract or choke out God’s influence in our lives and it did with me for years before I finally realized what was going on. JB Phillips puts it this way in his translation, “the worries of this world and the false glamour of riches and all sorts of other ambitions creep in and choke the life out of what they have heard.” A friend of mine told me a story that rounds out this third point very well. He said “soil can only support a certain number of plants growing in it. And weeds tend to drain the soil of all the resources. In the same way, a person only has a certain amount of time and energy. If he's always worried or pursuing earthly things, he's not able to be used by God to bear abundant fruit.” (4) “The seeds that fell on good ground are the people who hear and welcome the message. They produce thirty or sixty or even a hundred times as much as was planted.” These people are single minded. They know that God “purposes in his sovereign will that all human history shall be consummated in Christ, that everything that exists in Heaven or earth shall find its perfection and fulfillment in him.”(Eph.1:10, JB Phillips) They are willing to give up everything to be a part of that. Dreams of riches, ambitions to be famous, assurance of their security in this life means nothing to them. The fruit of the spirit follows them where ever they go. (Numbering and comments in italics text is mine.)

So, where do you think you might fit in this parable? Do not allow the world and/or Satan to steal from you your Life with Jesus. Be single-minded and productive for Christ!

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