“Therefore hear the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside. But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”
This parable is very foundational to our lives in regard to the importance of understanding of God’s word and work in us. It also provides some very clear pictures of different mindsets that people have regarding their commitment to God and to each other. When this parable is understood it helps us to understand how we can come up to a higher standard of commitment in our lives with God. As I write below, I’m drawing a parallel between this parable and the race that God has called His people to.
Case One: The Wayside
“Therefore hear the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside.”
The Word of God never even hit the soil, never understood. It was over before it had begun. The Word never made it through the door. This would also be a picture of someone who does not even get in the race.
“Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, And seeing you will see and not perceive; For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, And their eyes they have closed, Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should* heal them.”
Case Two: Stony Places
“But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.”
Joyful reception of the Word, but there is not time taken to let the roots go deep. Likes everything “happy, happy” but lacks commitment. This person wants the big show and a party, hangs for a little while until things don’t go their way or get difficult and suddenly disappears. Bails out of the race because muscles are being stretched. (the shooting star)
“And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.”
Case Three: The Thorns
“Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.”
This is where many people get stuck! This would be a picture of one who stays on the race track but is not productive. Receives the Word but gets their eyes on things, instead of focusing on the heavenly life that God has given, covets the things of the world and lacks contentment being anxious about many things. Has eye problems – won’t keep their eyes on the Lord. Still has the Word but it does not work for them because of the distractions of life. A double-minded man is unstable in all of his ways. You cannot serve two masters.
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.? For all that is in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – is not of the Father but is of the world.? And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”
Gets to a certain point on the race track and decides to stop and either admire the fans, love the things of the world or falls in fear and anxiousness of voices of opposition being distracted by their noise. Gets caught up in the religious rut. In turn, makes the person ineffective in their walk with God.
Case Four: Good Soil
Received the Word into good soil that has been taken care of and cultivated in the Holy Spirit. This person digs deep to gain understanding and has a well watered soil. The soil of the heart has received heavenly nutrients through spending time in communion with God. This helps to feed the Word and make it grow. This person loves to hang out with God, worship God and operates in the spirit of revelation & wisdom, has understanding having searched out the mysteries of God in scripture. ?Revelation has been received. There is a response to that revelation that causes root development through study and meditation. This brings forth heart understanding of the Word.
Runs the race to win!
Jesus said that these referred to here will produce 100, 60 and 30 fold increase in their lives through the Word of God. This could refer to degrees of faithfulness, excellence & sowing to the Spirit. A life lived hungry for God with a life focused on the things of heaven.