Matthew 13 1 – 23
Jesus addressed his congregation, telling stories. “What do you make of this? A farmer planted seed. As he scattered the seed, some of it fell on the road, and birds ate it. Some fell in the gravel; it sprouted quickly but didn’t put down roots, so when the sun came up it withered just as quickly. Some fell in the weeds; as it came up, it was strangled by the weeds. Some fell on good earth, and produced a harvest beyond his wildest dreams.
“Are you listening to this? Really listening?”
“Study this story of the farmer planting seed. When anyone hears news of the kingdom and doesn’t take it in, it just remains on the surface, and so the Evil One comes along and plucks it right out of that person’s heart. This is the seed the farmer scatters on the road.
“The seed cast in the gravel—this is the person who hears and instantly responds with enthusiasm. But there is no soil of character, and so when the emotions wear off and some difficulty arrives, there is nothing to show for it.
“The seed cast in the weeds is the person who hears the kingdom news. But weeds of worry and illusions about getting more and wanting everything under the sun strangle what was heard, and nothing comes of it.
“The seed cast on good earth is the person who hears and takes in the News, and then produces a harvest beyond his wildest dreams.”
The parable of the sower and the Lord’s patience doesn’t just apply to that generation of Israelites, but to all of us, and all throughout our lives. I have gone through all four stages of ground in my life. I’ve left the Word on the path, I’ve accepted it with great joy only to compartmentalize and forget it, and I have allowed the cares of this world to take precedence over it. At times, I feel I am rich soil, but there are days in which I feel I have regressed into all of these stages at once. The beauty of this parable is that it gives us an easily understood measure to recognize our shortcomings, and a path to healing as well. We just need to open our hearts, drop our expectations and our preconceived notions, and return to prayer and the Word.
When we do that, our hearts become stronger and stronger ground for faith and fidelity. Even David understood that, and humbled himself to the Lord’s authority, an opportunity presented to him by the power of a parable. The Lord forgave and eventually blessed David for it, and He stands ready to do the same for us as soon as we open our hearts to His Word.