Four Soils

Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? The farmer sows the word. Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.” Mark 4:13-20

Insight

In the Parable of the Four Soils, very little energy is spent focusing on the farmer himself. Instead, great detail goes into describing the conditions of the various soils. This does not mean that the identity of the sower is insignificant. It is just the opposite. 

Without the sower (Jesus Christ) taking the time to plant the seeds (Word of God), no fruit would break free from the soil (our hearts). 

We need to ask ourselves: Why is Jesus so concerned over the environment of the seed? What is He ultimately nudging us to do with this parable? Jesus understood how critical of a role the condition of the soil plays in a seed’s development.

  • Hard Heart (The seed that fell on the path)- These are the individuals that refuse to understand how the Word applies to them, which ultimately doesn’t allow the truth any chance to stick.

  • Shallow Heart (The seed that fell on the rock)- After the initial joy of a newfound faith has worn off, these individuals resist the implications the truth should have on their lives. 

  • Overcrowded Heart (The seed that fell among the thorns)- We hinder our maturity when the concerns of this world shade us from the concerns of God. 

  • Receptive Heart (The seed that fell on fertile soul)- Through their receptiveness, the Word of God had the freedom to take root and produce a crop slowly. This took place because the individual not only received the message but also allowed it to transform them from the inside out. 

If the seed in the parable represents the Word of God, then it should unsettle us that only one environment provided an ideal setting for the seed to bear fruit. So, what can we do to make the conditions ripe for our spiritual growth? It starts by immersing ourselves in the Word of God and abiding in Christ (John 15:1-11). 

To reflect God’s heart, we have to know God’s heart. We must allow the truth of scripture to define our actions, words, and lives, yet at the same time understand that just like a seed, our maturity and growth takes time to develop. Weeds can pop up overnight, but mature fruit occurs over time

Reflection

·     How would you describe the current condition of your heart? What soil do you most identify with?

Prayer

God, may I display a willingness to let Your Word do a work within me. I wanted to be changed from the inside out. I desire for Your love, grace, and forgiveness to take root in my character.  In Your name, Jesus. Amen.

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