The Parable of the Sower and the Power of the Seed — The Aquila Report

Parables serve as a kind of filter for the world. Jesus’ parable in Mark 4:1-20 shows that in every crowd there are different responses to the Word of God. Some people are really interested in Jesus, some are pretending to be, and some aren’t at all. And the parables sort them out.

 

My yard will never be the envy of the neighborhood. It’s not for lack of trying—it’s just that whatever it takes to make it all green isn’t a possibility for me. The grass will always be better on some other side.

Part of this is due to my lack of skill. But part of it is due to the differences of soil throughout the yard. My dog paved a trail from one side of the fence to the other. My kids piled rocks in one corner. Weeds blew in from the neighbor’s yard. However, in some blessed areas, the soil is just right. (I think there’s a parable buried out there somewhere…)

Parables serve as a kind of filter for the world. Jesus’ parable in Mark 4:1-20 shows that in every crowd there are different responses to the Word of God. Some people are really interested in Jesus, some are pretending to be, and some aren’t at all. And the parables sort them out.

The parable of the sower poses a simple—but disturbing—question: Which kind of soil is your heart made of? Jesus presents four soil samples for his audience’s examination.

The Hard and Dry Heart

The hard and dry heart is the scariest of all. Mark 4:15says, “These are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them.”

This heart is scariest because it is adamantly closed to Jesus. It’s uninterested in hearing him and therefore unableto hear him. It’s closed off to receiving from the Spirit of God, like the natural man Paul speaks of in 1 Corinthians 2:14.

What happens to this kind of heart? Before it sinks in, Satan snatches up the word. C.S. Lewis picks up on this in his famed The Screwtape Letters. In one letter, Screwtape says to his protege, Wormwood, “It is funny how mortals always picture us as putting things into their minds: in reality our best work is done by keeping things out.”

In context, Screwtape is talking about prayer. The enemy cannot allow unhindered prayer. One prayer can do him in! So Peter tells us to “be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Pet. 5:8). Satan is always there, mouth open, ready to take the seed away.

He has a million methods, distraction being perhaps his favorite. It’s just so easy to appeal to our flesh. In the moment, your bed tends to feel better than the Bible. Engaging in the conversation on social media seems more interesting than praying. Often self-justification feels better than repentance. You are prone to enjoy consuming Netflix after a long day rather than nightly meditation on God’s word. Distraction abounds.

For the hard and dry heart, the picking is easy, and the birds’ lunch is free.

The Shallow and Rocky Heart

The shallow and rocky heart is like the Twitter follower who sees Jesus trending and jumps on the bandwagon. It loves him for his miracles but leaves him for his exclusive claims.

In fact, the parable says, “These are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy. And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away” (Mark 4:16-17). The heart associated with this soil doesn’t stick with him because it simply isn’t open enough.

This part of the parable represents a heart that claims belief but doesn’t endure, proving it doesn’t truly believe. It’s merely interested in the latest thing and springing upon it. When following Jesus gets uncomfortable, inconvenient, discouraging, risky, the person unfollows. He or she didn’t sign up for hardship.

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via The Parable of the Sower and the Power of the Seed — The Aquila Report

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