"And he taught them many things by parables, and he said unto them in his doctrine,
Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow:..." (Mark 4:2-3)
In my A. M. reading assignment, I read the parable of "The Sower, and the Soils".
Jesus often used 'object' lessons as a method of teaching. He would take common things and use them to illustrate the truth of God's Word.
Here, he uses farming as an illustration about the condition of a person's heart, and the way they accept Biblical truth. (This parable is not about getting saved, then getting lost, again. It is about how receptive someone is of God's teachings.)
First, let us understand that the "seed" in this parable is "the Word of God", or the scriptures. "Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God." (Luke 8:11)
Secondly, the "sower" is anyone that spreads the Word of God. "The sower soweth the word." (Mark 4:14) Anyone that teaches, preaches, or just shares, the Word, is sowing. The type of sowing depicted in this parable is 'broadcasting'. This type of sowing is done by walking through a field, and slinging the seed everywhere. We, the sower, are to be spreading God's Word everywhere!
Thirdly, the type of soil that the seed falls upon is is the condition of a persons heart.
1) "And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the wayside, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up." (Mark 4:4) The "wayside" is the unplowed ground surrounding the field. It was the "turn-row", or the part of the field where you turn around to make another pass with the plow. That part of the field is usually quite hard. Jesus was illustrating a very hard heart. The seed was on the top of the ground, and the birds ate it before it even germinated.
2) "And some fell on stony ground,..." (Mark 4:5) This part of the field was not plowed deeply enough. The seed sprang up, but withered when the sun came out. Jesus was speaking of a heart that was semi-hard, and the seedlings had no roots. As soon as hardships came, the growth ceased, and the development died.
3) "And some fell among thorns,..." (Mark 4:7) The soil was plowed, but it was full of weeds. The weeds grew faster than the planted Word of God, and choked the good plants to death. Jesus describes a worldly heart. This person hears the Word, but the cares of this world stop it from maturing, and bearing fruit.
4) "And other fell on good ground,..." (Mark 4:8) This soil was well prepared to receive the Word of God. The Word was "hidden in their heart, that they might not sin against God"! It grew, and yielded much fruit!
Those whose heart is hard and calloused readily reject the teachings of Jesus! His Word brings about no changes in the way they live.
The ones that have a stiff and unbroken heart accept the teachings of Christ, but as soon as it heats up, and persecution comes, they reject it.
Those who are holding too tightly to this world are heading for failure, as well. The cares of this life choke the teachings of Jesus to death, and not much evidence of Christ is seen in their lives.
But those whose hearts are tender, and broken, readily accept the teachings of Christ. They bear much evidence of Jesus' presence in their life. They are living well for Jesus!
Here is an illustration. The Golden Rule is a teaching of Christ. We are to do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Simply saying, "Treat others the way you want to be treated".
The "Calloused Heart" says , "I ain't doing that!"
The "Shallow of Heart" says, "Okay." But as soon as someone mocks them for being kind to others, they quit.
The "Thorny Heart" says, "I'll do that as long as I don't have to make any sacrifices."
The "Soft and Broken Heart" says, "Yes, Lord. I will always try to treat others the way I want to be treated, no matter the persecution, or the cost."
Here's our prayer:
"Lord, keep me of an humble and contrite spirit, that I may better serve you. Amen."
From my heart to your heart.