Matthew 13:1-9 (NIV)
13 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake.2 Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. 3 Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.”
– interpretation by Chad Irons
I love the book of Matthew. There is so much to learn from the many parables.
Let me provide a little pre-parable background.
Jesus wasn’t very pleased with many of his followers. He had traveled through many of their cities, professing the good Word and performing miracle, healing the sick, the lame, and bringing some back to life. As we see in Matthew 11, Jesus started to denounce the many of the cities He traveled through because the people, His followers, didn’t show any repentance for their sins. They didn’t change and live a Christ-like life. They went back to their old sinful ways.
Jesus needed to do something to push his followers a little bit. Get them to think about the depth of their relationship with God. He did this through the Parable of the Sower.
You see back in the time of Jesus, all his followers didn’t have the same relationship with our Heavenly Father – just like US today.
Were they true followers, believers? Did they really hear, understand, and receive the Word of God? Did they make it part of their every day life?
While there may be different interpretations of this parable, in this message the seeds are the Words from God and the four types of soil refer to our heart; Hard, Rocky, Thorny, and Fertile Ground.
Let’s spend a few minutes and analyze our own hearts and think about our relationship with Christ Jesus.
Hard Ground – where nothing grows
- perhaps it’s someone who’s heart has been hardened by sin,
- someone who hears the Word but doesn’t understand or accept it,
- today we may call them non-believers.
Rocky Ground – may grow something but it doesn’t last, no root system
- maybe they hear the Word but their heart never changes,
- their faith disappears quickly,
- in today’s world we may say they chase shiny objects or go to the brightest light, easily distracted, or perhaps the memory of a goldfish
Thorny Ground – fruit grows but is choked out by the winding web of thorns
- this is someone who seems to receive the Word but their heart is filled with riches, pleasure, and perhaps even lust,
- worldly things are more important and take them away from the Word,
- often times we refer to these people as trying to “Keep up with the Jones’s”. (I don’t know who the Jones’s are but it’s not worth it – I know!)
Fertile Ground – where fruit grows abundantly
- these are people who hear, understand and receive the Word,
- the Word is part of their every day life
- I refer to these people as those “Keeping up with Jesus.” (a label we should all strive to have)
I couldn’t sit here and write this and tell you my life has always been Fertile Ground. In fact it’s probably moved back and forth between Rocky and Thorny for most of my early years which may be the case for you as well.
There were times when my fruits were more than a little sourer but God being gracious and forgiving, he never gave up on me. And He will never give up on you either.
True Christian growth takes time. It doesn’t happen overnight. Fruit on the vine doesn’t grow over night either. Jesus tells us this in John 15:5;
Jesus said “I am the vine. You are the branches. If anyone remains joined to me, and I to them, he will bear a lot of fruit. You can’t do anything without me.”
We must stay connected to Jesus because without him we cannot bear any fruit!
What’s so great about this is we are not responsible for the fruit, that’s God’s job. We need to keep the soil, our hearts, in fertile condition and ready to receive his Word. We must continue to prepare our hearts to be ready to hear, feel, and act on God’s Word.
Our reception of God’s Word is determined by the condition of our heart.
- Do we hear His Word?
- Do we understand His Word?
- Do we live His Word?
You see salvation is more than just hearing the scripture, sitting in the pews on Sunday, or reading a blog. Someone who is truly saved will go on to prove it over and over again by producing a crop one hundred times what was planted.
As Jesus said in Matthew 7:21; “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord’, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.”
Let us all strive to be examples of a prepared heart and God’s fertile soil for all the world to see.
This is the Word of God for us, the people of God.
Until next time:
Remember wherever you are in your Christian walk, God is by your side and loves you unconditionally.
In Christian Love,