The Parable of the Sower
The parable of the Sower is well known. It’s a wonderful teaching that paints a picture in our minds of the difficulties faced by those that hear God’s Word. The Sower sows the same seed but the soil that receives the seed determines the outcome of its effectiveness. And so, it is with the Word of God. It can be stolen, choked out, withered, and made unfruitful in our lives or it can take root and produce a crop many times greater than the seed that was originally sown. It’s all dependent on the heart of the listener that receives the Word. Have you ever wondered why some people hear the Word and prosper yet others, the majority in fact, never seem to be changed. The Word is the same, the heart receiving that word is not.
Let’s take a quick look at the heart of the listener.
The first is the heart that is hard, like the road, and when the seed is sown there, it is quickly stolen by the birds. Jesus tells us this is the work of satan who comes to steal the Truth of God’s Word before it has a chance to start growing.
The second is the heart of someone with a shallow commitment to the Word, like rocky soil. It has both good soil to develop the seed and rocky soil that hinders growth. The seed that is sown there cannot develop the deep roots necessary to sustain its life. When trials and afflictions come, that person falls away because they were never established.
The third is the one who is choked out by the cares and concerns of the world. They have a divided heart. The worries of life and the desires for the things of this world eventually choke out the life that was meant to grow there. The soil of that heart was good, but they allowed other things to grow which eventually destroyed the life of God in their heart. The fourth is the heart with good soil which yields a crop many times larger than the seed that was sown into it.
Now, Jesus makes an important statement in verse 10 when His followers ask Him to explain the parable to them. He says to them “You have been given the mystery of the kingdom of God but those on the outside get everything in parables”. I draw two conclusions from this statement.
First, we have been given the privilege to have the Holy Spirit quicken our minds to understand His Word. But do not be fooled, this parable is for the believer. You and I have got to make certain that our hearts are ready to receive His Word! Be careful that your heart does not become hardened to His Word. Make sure that you are not dealing loosely with the things of God, not allowing it to search you to the deepest places of your heart. And keep the things of this world at a distance so that you won’t be led astray by the cares and concerns of this world or by the desires of your heart.
Second, we have been given a great responsibility both to share God’s word and to work the soil of men’s hearts. The Sower in this parable is the one that sows the Word, he is the farmer. Have you ever shared God’s Word? Then you are the Sower. And like any good farmer would do, work the soil as you sow the seed of the Word of God. You have been given discernment and insight into people’s lives. So, when you sow the Word, prepare the soil as you go. Perhaps you can pray as you sow. Or meet a physical need as you minister the Word. Let the Spirit be your guide as you prepare the soil of your heart and the heart of those that you seek to reach with God’s Word.