Don’t you just love a garden or a beautiful flowerbed full of unique, colorful flowers? I know I do! My husband and I just recently moved into a new home in Bentonville, Arkansas, and the first thing I noticed when walking up to the front door of our now home was a bare flowerbed. This brought me great excitement, because I knew I’d have the opportunity to fill it with beautiful flowers of my choosing. With my first opportunity to plant my own flowers, I had no idea where to start. I did a little research. Access to sunlight, the fertility of the soil, and how much the flowers have to be watered are all big factors. The conditions of the environment determines the livelihood of the flowers. The same is true for us. We’re going to look at a parable Jesus tells about a farmer sowing seeds in different environments. Jesus compares this parable to the way we, as believers, have different heart conditions towards Him and His Word. These heart conditions affect the way we apply and live out His Word.
Read through Matthew 13:1-23. Leading up to this passage, we see Jesus preaching the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). Here we pick up with the first parable the Lord shares in Matthew 13. After traveling and performing many miracles, Jesus went to rest by a river. In Matthew 13:1-2, it is mentioned that the crowd became so large around Him that He had to get into a boat to teach while everyone else was on shore. Jesus began to share with the crowd the parable of a farmer sowing seeds. The first place the seeds fell were
On the Path
“Some fell along the path and birds came and ate it up.” (Matthew 13:4)
In Matthew 13:19 Jesus gives the explanation of the parable. When the seed is scattered on the path, this is when someone hears the Word but doesn’t understand it. Since he doesn’t understand it, Satan comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. God’s Word gives us life! It is a lamp unto our feet and a light to our path (Psalm 119:105). God’s Word is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, reproof, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that we can be complete, equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17). His Word is such a good thing! Satan is on the lookout! He only comes to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). He is ready and waiting for the truth of God’s Word to fall along the path so he can come and snatch it up. It’s easy to read the Word just to check it off a list. I have been guilty of this many times. Like the seed that is uprooted grows nothing beautiful or nutritious for the farmer, God’s Word will have no harvest amongst hearts that are exposed to outside attacks. Take time to spend with Jesus! Allow His Word to transform you. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand. The second bunch of seed fell
On the Rocky Ground
“Some fell on the rocky ground where there wasn’t much soil. It sprang up quickly because the soil was shallow, but when the sun came up, the plants were scorched because they had no root.” (Matthew 13:5-6)
The explanation for verses 5-6 is in verses 20-21. This is someone who hears the Word and receives it with joy, yet has no root in himself. Someone who does it for a little while and when hard times come because of the Word, they immediately fall away from it. How many of you have been this type of soil? The kind where all spiritual health and growth halts when the scorching heat beams down? I have my hands up. It’s easy to be a Christian when all is good and well but once you start getting persecuted for believing and receiving the Word of God, it all becomes real. The way a believer responds in the midst of persecution says a lot about the way she views God and His Word. “Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith” (2 Corinthians 13:5). If Jesus is living inside of you, He will make Himself known through His deep rootedness in your life. Next, we see the seed that fell
Among the Thorns
“Other seed fell among the thorns which grow up and choke the plants.” (Matthew 13:7)
Verse 22 gives the explanation for this type of soil. This is someone who hears the Word but the cares of worldly things and riches choke it out. This summer I had the privilege of going on a mission trip to Denver, Colorado with the youth group. While we were there, my group’s task for the evening was to clear out all the weeds out of a widow’s flowerbeds. I have never seen a flowerbed so full of SO MANY WEEDS! Some of the weeds wrapped themselves around all the good flowers and killed a lot of her plants. It was then that this part of the parable became very clear to me. We allow worldly things to come into our lives and choke out the truth we know from God’s Word. Just like some of those weeds in the widow’s flowerbed, lies and sin creep into our lives and over time choke out the truth. Sisters in Christ, be careful of this! Examine yourselves daily! When the Lord reveals sin to you, repent and turn from it! Be sure there is no sin in your life that goes unnoticed. Lastly we see the seed that fell
On Good Soil
“Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop- a hundred, sixty, or thirty times what was sown.” (Matthew 13:8)
This is the soil we all should be praying to be as Christ-followers. Matthew 13:23 says, “Someone who hears the Word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty, or thirty times what was sown.” A couple years ago, I realized how hard my heart had gotten towards the Lord and His Word. I began praying the Lord would soften my heart. Over time, He did. It’s still something I pray for today. The only way we can have a healthy environment for God’s Word is to be in constant prayer and surrender to the Lord. Only then will God’s Word be able to penetrate, take root, and grow in abundance.
Now, after reading His Word, what will we do with it? What kind of soil are you? Even reading this article now…has the seed fallen on the path? Has it fallen on the rocky ground or among the thorns? Has it fallen on good soil? I pray it has fallen on good soil, that there will be spiritual fruitfulness as a result. Any time we open God’s Word, we should leave challenged, encouraged, and changed.
Lord Jesus, I come before You humbled. I’m so thankful that You have given us Your Word and explain it in a way that is easy to understand. Lord, help me to be good soil for Your Word to take root. Help Your Word to change me so that I can take what I’ve learned and teach it to others. Thank You for loving and caring for me. I love You, and I praise You.