"Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow." –Mark 4:3 (NKJV)
Jesus shared over thirty parables during His lifetime. But none of them has had more of an impact than this one, which is commonly called "the parable of the sower." It gets this name from the fact that it tells of a farmer who went out one day to sow some seeds.
As the seed was scattered, it fell on four different kinds of soil. Some seed fell by the hard-trodden wayside and was quickly snatched up and eaten by the birds. Other seeds fell on stony soil, which prevented them from putting down roots that could sustain them. Then there were seeds that landed on soil that was riddled with thorns that choked out any growth. However, some of the seeds fell on soft soil. The seeds took root, sprouted up, and flourished (Mark 4:4-8).
So what’s the point? We don’t have to guess because Jesus gave it to us. According to Him, the seed represents God’s Word and the different soils represent peoples’ hearts-hearts that are hard, hearts that are shallow, hearts that are thorny, and hearts that are soft.
This parable is a picture of the reality that God’s Word is going to have different effects on different people. Not everyone is going to be on board with the Bible. Some hearts will be hard, shallow, or thorny-and they’ll also be fruitless. But there will also be some soft hearts that are open and ready to receive God’s Word, and these are the people who will experience spiritual growth and enjoy spiritual fruit.
People are going to react differently to God’s Word, and how they react reveals a lot about their heart. So ask yourself, "Which reaction matches yours and what does it say about your heart?"