The Parable Of The Sower

Sprouts in rich soil

It is clear from Scripture that Christians are commanded to evangelize those around us.  Jesus explicitly stated, “…Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).  However, as we go about doing such, we would be wise to learn that not every person will react identically to another.  To help His first century disciples to understand this, Jesus taught what He titled, “…the parable of the sower” (Matt. 13:18).  Jesus said, “…Behold, a sower went forth to sow; And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:  Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth:  and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:  And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.  And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:  But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.  Who hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matt. 13:3-9).  With some of the parables that Jesus taught, the listener was left with the responsibility of properly interpreting and understanding such.  On this occasion though, Jesus took the time to explain specifically what He meant by His teaching.  Jesus further said, “Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower.  When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart.  This is he which received seed by the way side.  But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while:  for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.  He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.  But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty” (Matt. 13:18-23).

          The process of sowing and reaping is used at different times in Scripture.  This was not coincidental.  The people of the first century readily understood the process.  In the case of parables, Jesus taught using things that were able to occur.  Many of the first century people not only knew about sowing and reaping but had been active in the process themselves.  By describing the “way side”, the hearer would have been able to visualize what Jesus meant.  The “way side” was exactly what it sounds like.  It was an area on the side of the rows being sown.  After much traversing, the soil of the “way side” would become harder and harder to penetrate.  As such, the seed could not enter the soil.  This allowed animals to come and take the seed for themselves.  When the kingdom was being proclaimed back then, and when the Gospel is proclaimed now, there are some that are so obstinate, that they will not allow the Word of God to enter into their hearts.       
          Likewise, individuals would have known what it was like to have a seed fall into “stony places”.  While the seed may start its process, eventually the seed will die because of no root system to nourish it.  There are those that at first seem to accept God’s Word readily and eagerly.  Unfortunately, when difficulties arise in their lives because of what God’s Word teaches, those same individuals quit being faithful.

          The issue of thorns would also have been well known at that time.  Many gardeners and farmers alike will attest to the dangers of weeds and invasive plants.  While the seed may start growing, it can quickly be deprived of nutrients that the thorns take.  Also, the battle for sunlight might be a losing battle for the seed as well.  Too many people get caught in the trap of seeking riches and worldly things.  Paul readily described the need to avoid such (1 Tim. 6:6-11).  We must not let anything “choke” God’s Word from our lives.

          Finally, healthy, prosperous crops were the result that so many desired.  To become such, the seed had to enter the soil, take root, have adequate water and nutrients, and grow properly.  When this occurred there would have been a harvest that would have followed.  When individuals truly let God’s Word into their hearts, stay “rooted and built up”, feed on the Word for strength, then they will grow into a mature child of God.  Sometimes there will be few who do such, and other times there will be many.  Regardless, “fruit” is brought forth.

          Where are we in this parable?  Are we ready to receive the Word of God?  Do we make sure that It is rooted in our hearts?  Are we growing daily as we should?  Are we bringing forth much fruit as a Christian?
~ Corey Barnette