THE PARABLE OF THE SOWER
Based on the parable of Jesus found in Matthew 13:1-23, Mark 4:1-20, and Luke 8:4-15.
THE PARABLE OF THE SOWER
Listen to this parable:
One day, a farmer decided to plant some crops and as he scattered the seeds, some of them fell on the path and the birds flew down and ate them. Others fell in the rocks. The seeds sprouted quickly but without deep roots, they were scorched by the sun and withered away. Other seeds fell in the weeds and shrubs, whose thorns choked the plants, making them unfruitful. And finally, some seeds fell on good soil and produced a harvest that yielded far more than all the seeds that were planted.
Jesus of Nazareth was the greatest teacher this world has ever seen, and he taught in parables, which are simple stories that illustrate a deeper moral or spiritual truth. Most of time, when Jesus told these stories, he wouldn’t necessarily reveal the greater meaning. But with The Parable of the Sower, he told his disciples exactly what it means. And in Mark 4:13, he basically said that if we don’t understand this parable, we won’t understand any of the others!
Listen and understand the meaning of The Parable of the Sower:
The seed is the Word of God, which primarily refers to the Bible, but it could also be your personal testimony of what God has done in your life. It could be the Good News of the Gospel message spoken in your own words. It could be a YouTube video, social media post, or really any preaching, teaching or message of God’s love and saving grace through Jesus Christ, in any form.
The four different soils represent the 4 different ways people respond to the Word.
Some people are like the seed that fell on the path. Their hearts are hard. They could be skeptical. Maybe they didn’t understand the message. Either way, they reject it. The opposing ideas and philosophies of this world, represented by the birds, reinforce their decision and prevent them from being saved.
Other people are like the seed that fell on the gravel. When they hear the message of salvation, they immediately receive it with joy. But they don’t have the deep roots of a close, personal relationship with God. Maybe they want to go to heaven, but they don’t want any commitment or sacrifice. They could have been sold on a false gospel of health, wealth, and prosperity. Whatever the case, just as the hot sun scorched the plants, as soon as they experience temptation, persecution, or hardship, they quickly fall away.
Some people are like the seed that fell in the weeds and shrubs. They hear the Word, but just as the plants were choked by the thorns, their faith is suffocated by the worries of life, the deceitfulness of riches and the pleasures of this world. And without knowing it, they choose fear over faith, money over God, and worldly things over heavenly things. And as a result, they become unfruitful as their spiritual life slowly dies out.
Finally, some people are like the seed that fell on the good soil. They hear, understand, and receive the Word with a good and honest heart. They develop a close, personal relationship with God, and they produce good fruit.
The parable doesn’t specify exactly what the fruit is, but elsewhere in the Bible, the New Testament authors write about the fruit of repentance [Matthew 3:8], the fruit of good works [Colossians 1:10], the fruit of praise [Hebrews 13:15], the fruits of righteousness [Philippians 1:11] and peace [James 3:18], the fruits of goodness, justice, and truth [Ephesians 5:9], and the fruit of the Spirit [Galatians 5:22], which consists of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
“Good fruit” is less about external behaviors and more about qualities that demonstrate inner peace and joy as a result of a close, personal relationship with God, and His transformative power at work in and through us. All of this fruit produces seeds that reveal Him to the world.
The Parable of the Sower reminds us that not everyone who hears the Word will understand it and receive it. And not everyone who receives it will bear fruit. Some lack deep roots and fall away when things get hard. Others are choked by the thorns of worldliness and materialism. But some hear the message with a good heart and produce a crop of beautiful fruit that is a blessing to others and glorifying to God.
We can’t control how people respond to the gospel, but we can be faithful in continuing to plant those seeds. When you, like the farmer in the parable, share God’s Word with others—even if it’s just your story of how you decided to trust and follow Jesus—you are pleasing God, who desires that all people will enter into a relationship with Him (2 Peter 3:9), and rejoices in the harvest of faith. God bless you all.