“Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” And he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
— Mark 4:3-9 ESV

what does this mean?

We read this story, and we're like, 'Okay, Jesus, thanks for the farming lesson. Obviously the seed wasn't going to grow if it was planted in rocks or thorns.' So, it would be easy to skip over this parable because it doesn't seem that applicable. But there is so much more to this story than planting seeds.

This parable about the Sower and the Seeds is told in 3 of the Gospels. Repetition is usually our clue to really pay attention to what is being said. Jesus tells this parable to explain the choices we have in response to His Living Word, the seed in the story is a parallel to The Word. Now this parable really can come to life. So, let's dive into what Jesus is actually saying to us through this parable. 

it's all about the heart

The different places the seeds land represent the different choices we have in how we let the Bible impact us. The rocky ground represents someone with a hardened heart who refuses to let the word of God impact them.

The stony ground represents someone whose heart delights in the Word of God when it's convenient, but when things aren't going their way they are quick to let fear arise and lose faith.

The thorny ground is a representation of someone who receives the Word, but is so distracted by the things of this world (riches, lust, acceptance) that his attention and faith whither away over time. 

And finally, the good ground. This represents someone who hears, understands, and receives the word. They allow the Word to impress upon their heart and make a lasting impression. A heart like this is the only one who is truly saved.

I heard this parable said in simple terms once. "A man's reception of God's Word is determined by the condition of his heart."

a practical step

Raise your hand if this explanation of this parable turned out to be completely different than you first thought? *raises hand*

This passage shows us that just reading your Bible to get it over with isn't enough. The words can't just be words. The stories can't just be stories--they have to be more. They should impact and change you. God gave us His word so that we would be changed. Take some time and think about how you feel after you've read scripture. Do you feel encouraged? Known? Loved? Convicted? Or do you feel anything at all? Ask God to reveal Himself to you through His word. 

pray

God I ask that today and everyday from now on, when I read Your Word, that I would really feel Your presence. I ask that I would be different and changed every single time I read the Bible. Would I have a new passion and zeal to read Your Words to me. Thank You for giving us the Bible as a way of communication with You. Would You come and speak truth to me today. Amen. 

-Alex Raines