Mya Hudgins, Faith Editor
There is often more to the story than what meets the eye. Jesus uses parables to tell a story that packs a punch! This is true about the parable of the sower. This story is not just about the sower. It is about the sower, seeds, and the soil. God uses this story to bring Himself glory. The seeds are symbolic of those who have heard the Gospel and who have accepted Christ. The different soils, where the seeds are thrown, represent the different backgrounds and foundations of non-believers, “baby Christians”, and firm believers. In each part of the parable, the things surrounding the seed either makes or breaks it. Some produce no fruit, while others flourish and produce an abundance of fruit. The parable is special because it is not just a one-time learning experience, but instead it teaches you something new every day. A Christian has to continue to grow in their faith, and that’s exactly what Christ teaches in this parable.
In Matthew 13, the sower was spreading the seed, which Jesus identifies as the Word of God – the Gospel. The message goes out to all people, but not all respond to it in a way that bears good fruit. We can identify four different soils that the seeds where spread, which all have a different response to the Word of God that comes into their lives.
The first place the seeds are dropped is the path. The seeds represent how the Gospel is presented to people. People hear the word of God, but it doesn’t penetrate them at all. Their heart is hard. Due to this soil, the seed just sits on the surface, making no impact. When the seeds were thrown on the path, some were eaten up by the birds. This represents people who do not have a desire to know more about the Gospel or the creator. The people, who heard the Gospel, were eaten up by their own sin, and the sin that surrounded them. When someone rejects God with no desire to have Him in their life, as Christians, we say they have a heart of stone. In Ezekiel 36:26 says, “And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.” We know from this scripture, God can change any heart, we just have to be willing to give up sin and live a life that follows after Christ. Seeds scattered on a hard path tell signs of a harden heart.
The next type of soil is the rocky ground. These seeds grew for a while, but were scorched by the sun. The seeds were not properly taken care of because soil was too shallow. There was not enough water or soil. When the roots try to grow down to get to the water, the rocks block the roots from reaching the water and good soil. This represents the people who are eager to learn about the Gospel and accept Christ. These people hear the Word of God and take it in, but there is no depth to them. They have shallow hearts. When they are faced with a tough choice, they don’t have the roots to stand. Their faith withers. As time goes on, these people were not mentored like they were supposed to be. Before you know it, they have drifted away from God and scorched by sin. When someone accepts Christ, the next step is discipleship. Many churches forgot the importance of following up with brand new Christians.
The third kind of soil is a thorny one. There were many thorn bushes where the sower threw seeds. As the seeds grew, it was surrounded by weeds that choked the plant and it died. These people hear the Word of God and take it in. It is growing nicely, but then weeds grow up around it and they suck away the nutrients from the soil. This is a representation of someone that is growing in Christ, but when things were supposed to be removed, like toxic relationships, they were dragged back down. Ultimately this causes them to stop growing in their relationship with Christ. They believe, but their faith is stunted because they are distracted by other things in this world. God is not a priority. Matthew 6:24 says, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other.” Many people today live a life among the thorny soil, and never fix their priorities. They focus more on the worries in their lives, than on the God who can help them sort out their problems. Most people never want to surrender control of their lives to God. They let Satan get a foothold and slowly bring them down to where he wants them. Unfortunately, they never notice this downward spiral, until God reveals all of their struggles out in the open.
Finally, the parable ends with the sower throwing seeds among fertile soil. These seeds were nourished by the deep, rich soil. It grows into a strong healthy plant and it bears fruit. This is symbolic of those who are saved and surrounded by people who encourage them. These people hear the Word of God and take it in. This kind of person seeks to understand, so their faith grows where they can spread the Word of God themselves. They are bearing witness to God through their actions and by what they say. They are in the Word and praying without ceasing. It is important for Christians to build and support each other. One of the most important parts in having a strong relationship with God is a good, firm foundation. As Christians, God calls us to bear fruit. These are the fruits of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, and self-control. If a seed is thrown among thorns, rocks, or a path, they will be walked on, scorched, and choked producing bad fruit or no fruit at all. However, if seeds are thrown among deep, rich soil as a foundation for their growth, they will produce fruits of the spirit that will bring glory to God.
We have to ask ourselves, which soil represents our lives? Do you have a hard heart, where nothing impacts you? If so, you need to plow the ground and repent of your sins. Jesus can soften our hearts. Is your heart shallow? Your heart needs to be fertilized and watered. Get in God’s Word and develop a deeper relationship with Him. Maybe your heart is distracted by the things of this world, like social media, instead of focusing in on Christ. Keep weeding out these distractions by setting boundaries and guidelines. God has to be the first priority, not friends, family, work, or sports. My prayer is that my heart will be a productive heart that bears fruit. We are transformed so we can have an impact on other people. In verse 16 it says, “No one lights a lamp and hides it in a jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, he puts it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light.” The choice is ours. Don’t waste the seed God has given us.