One of my favorite parables that Jesus told is the parable of the sower, which is recorded in all three of the synoptic Gospels. The account in Luke states the parable like this:
“A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. Some fell on rock, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.” Luke 8:5-8. See also Matthew 13 and Mark 4.
Jesus later explains what this parable means, because apparently many, including His disciples, did not understand the point He was trying to make. In this parable, the seed represents the Word of God and the different types of soil on which the seed falls represent the hearer of the Word. When I first read this parable, I prayed and asked God to make me like the good soil.
I don’t want to be like the path and have the Word snatched away from me by the devil. I imagine that the people this refers to are those who hear the Word with skepticism, those who see themselves as extremely intellectual. If what they hear in the Word can’t be proven by what they see in the physical world, they cannot believe. Although I consider myself somewhat intellectual (I did, after all, graduate cum laude from law school), I think I have always believed in God to some degree and I was never concerned that I would be like the path.
I don’t want to be like the soil among the rocks and have the Word wither in my heart for lack of moisture. This soil refers to people who believe the Word when they hear it, but they don’t do anything to help it grow in their hearts. I think that any Christian can be in danger of being like this soil. If we do not continue to feed on the Scriptures and water our faith in prayer, the Word has less strength in our lives. I have struggled with this, but continue to pray that God’s Word will not wither within me.
I don’t want to be like the soil full of thorns and have the Word choked out in my heart. The thorns refer to the worries, riches, and pleasures of this world. The person who is like this soil hears the Word and believes, but they are distracted by worries of the world, rely on the riches of the world, and put too much emphasis on the pleasures of the world. I used to be a huge worrier and think that making more money was the answer. But for the grace of God, the Word could easily have been choked out in my heart by these things, but God has taught me to trust in Him and not to worry.
I want to be like the good soil and have the Word grow in me and yield a crop to glorify God. I believe that God has answered my prayer. The Word of God has taken root in my heart. He has taught me to keep it watered with prayer, Bible study, and Christian fellowship. And most of the time I do not worry about tomorrow or trust in wealth or earthly pleasures for my happiness.
But sometimes I feel like the good soil that is right next to the field of thorns and adjacent to the rocky soil. Life can be difficult at times and maintaining focus on God alone is a challenge. Sometimes I forget to pray or read my Bible, and then my faith feels a little dry. I hope I am yielding a crop that glorifies God, but I can do so only by His power and grace.
So what kind of soil are you? I hope and pray you will be like the good soil, that faith will not be snatched from you or wither for lack of deep roots or be choked out by the worries and riches of the world.
I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. Ephesians 1:17-19a.