“And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?” (Mark 4:13)
The Parable to Unlock All Parables
The parable of the Sower and the Seed can be found in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Jesus tells his disciples that the key to understanding all of his 46 parables is to know this one. I believe that just as there is a natural progression in the parable on planting so is the heart of man. We are all resistant to the word at first and then roots take form and then things occur in our life that we have to align to the will of God and after we will bear much fruit.
Jesus said that the seed is the word of God. The word has a mystery about it that can really understand, much like a physical seed. You can go to a garden and plant a seed and the seed will somehow just begin to grow on its own. It starts to grow roots to stabilize its self in the ground and soon after you will begin to see a stem and leaf appear from the ground. The word of God is able to grow roots into the heart of men. It can stabilize us from the words and opinions of others. It grows inside and that will begin to show on the outside. A person that has the word of God buried within will begin to behave differently.
Within each seed is a forest. Seeds multiply after its self. As we grow in an area of the word more seeds are cast down into our hearts. We can grow in grace, faith, peace, and the list goes on. Each seed in our heart has the ability to become a forest but we decide to what point it gives fruit.
In the parable of the sower, there are four different soils. Each soil brings a different harvest. Seeds have the same potential of harvest but the soil will determine how much you reap.
The first type of person Jesus mentions is the person that never received the word of God. They heard the word but never received it. The seed fell by the wayside. Isn’t it interesting that falling by the wayside is a saying today? This is over 2,000 years after Jesus said that phrase. The wayside isn’t where you ever intended it to go. It’s like seeing seeds scattered on a road. The seeds just go to waste there! Much the same with the seeds of God to people that lack the understanding of his word, the seed is in a hostile environment where there is no place for it to survive.
Note that this is the ONLY soil that the devil or “birds” have access to eat the seeds. As a spiritual person, our only weapon is the sword of the spirit (the word of God). Demons want to remove the word from your heart before it can take root because they know it is the only way you can fight against them.
The Rocky Soil
If you compare the parable in Matthew, Mark and Luke Jesus compares rocks to tribulations, persecutions, afflictions and temptations. There are seeds that grow but the roots eventually find resistance to their growth, a rock is in it’s path. Depending on the size of the rock a plant will not grow through it, it will die. People that have no roots will eventually have the word of God wither in their life and die, it will never bear fruit.
Every Soil Has Rocks
I used to work landscaping and I have never worked anywhere that there were no rocks. It’s what’s done about the rock that effects your life.
Have you ever seen a random tree growing out the side of a mountain? The seed’s roots went so deep that it broke the rock. So does the word have to break every temptation, affliction, tribulation and persecution. Every person alive will go through difficult situations, especially a follower of Christ. What do you do when you come head on with a rock? Have you allowed pebbles to interfere with your relationship with God? Or have you broken boulders?
Seeds Among Thorns
This seed has been planted on good soil, it has made it past rocks and now it is confronted with thorns. These thorns are called anxiety, worries and distractions. The root word of “care” in the passage means distractions. What’s the last way that the word cannot bear fruit? Distractions.
The word was sown with intention (a sower went out to sow), likewise the garden (our heart) has to be intentionally weeded. If you go to a garden and weed within three weeks you will see weeds appear again. Living in this world system is not easy. Pressure is constantly being placed on us to perform, behave and live a certain way. This pressure creates weeds.
No weed chokes a plant overnight, it’s a gradual process. It’s one that for the most part goes unnoticed until the very end. Whatever is sown in our hearts that isn’t from God can grow, much like the word and without taking proper care it will destroy us spiritually.
While speaking to my sister in law about this topic she told me “The last thing to develop on a tree is fruit”. That really struck me. A plant has a natural progression of growth, so do we as followers of Christ. We must have root within ourselves, to stand firm in our convictions and belief in Christ. Then we learn the word and fight off everything that comes against it. The final part is to keep the word. Bearing Fruit is nothing more than knowing the word and applying it. The more you submit to the word the more fruit will come. The seed and the soil are the same but the difference in harvest comes with the willingness to apply the word.