The Bible has so much to teach us on how to live, and there is no greater teacher/professor than the one who embodied these words, literally, Jesus Christ. So I will begin a series of posts on some of these teachings as found in the parables (His stories) given to us in the writings of Luke. And believe me, what you will learn from this teacher are qualities and understanding that will last you forever. They will help you in this lifetime in preparation for the eternal, but only if you accept and apply the teachings.
Jesus always presented stories that He knew His listeners would have seen or have heard of in their lifetime. Now His stories didn’t always turn on the light bulb when first heard. In fact they often left the apostles scratching their heads; asking huh???? Yet that is what good teaching does – it has me inquiring for more / asking the questions needed to bring me to the truth.
Jesus’ first parable in Luke can be found in Chapter 8, called The Sower (Luke 8: 4-8). And from this reading I think we can get the picture that Jesus is trying to draw in our minds. We have farmland all around us, and if we look closely, we will see the four distinct areas that occur in every farmer’s field that Jesus described.
- He said there is a pathway / a roadway into the field that is hard and packed – (Nothing is growing here because birds and traffic destroy any seed that falls here).
- He said there are areas where the soil is shallow with layers of rock underneath – (We will see plants that look healthy at first, but dry up in the heat of the growing season because their roots cannot run deep to find moisture for their nourishment).
- He said there are areas where there are weeds and thickets – (We will see plants that look healthy, yet are so much smaller with very small fruit (seed), if any, because they are competing with weeds for sunlight and nutrition).
- And He said there are areas where all is good, where the soil is deep and full of nutrition – (We will see plants that look healthy, that are healthy, and that grow to maturity producing great fruit).
So when the disciples said, “Huh?” Jesus went onto explain that the Sower in the story is God, that the seed He is sowing is His Word (the truth), and that the location the seed falls represents humans’ hearts.
And Jesus wanted His disciples, as well as you and me, to see 3 things:
- God’s seed is never bad
- God sows His seed everywhere
- Most seed never reaches maturity
Let’s look at each of these points individually.
First, God’s seed is never bad.
The earth as we know it is a mess due to mankind’s rebellion against God. We can see:
- Sometimes the soil produces fruit and sometimes it does not;
- Sometimes we remain healthy to old age and sometimes we get very sick when we’re really young; and
- Sometimes our genes pass on normally to the next generation and sometimes they do not.
My beautiful daughter had no say in what would happen to her in the womb upon conception. Yet because of the curse humankind chose through rebellion, she developed with 3 of the 21st chromosome which causes her delays.
My point in this is: God’s seed (His Word) is always true and pure. There is nothing in this world that can destroy it. And it will do, if allowed, what it is destined to do – to sprout and grow to maturity every time. The problem is where this seed falls.
Next, God sows His seed everywhere.
God desires that no one perish – that He has to damn no one to hell. So He scatters His seed so that everyone is given a chance to respond – a chance to sprout and grow into maturity. (A location has a chance to turn into fertile soil (good soil), but only if the hard work is done.)
Again the problem is not the seed. It is the location in which it falls, meaning the heart of the person hearing it.
And finally, most seed never reaches maturity.
God’s seed always creates a choice for those who hear it. It can either be accepted or rejected.
- If a heart is hard it is due to Satan. He snatches and destroys the truth before it will ever have a chance to sprout in someone’s heart. The hard heart goes to his grave denying the truth of God either out of anger or out of just not being able to accept it.
- If a heart is open (softened when hearing of Jesus), the truth takes root. Yet initially, every seedling looks the same. It is only with time do we see the differences. Time will tell if the truth fell on a heart of good soil.
How will God know? How will we know? It’s easy.
- For a lot of people, testing and tribulation suck the nourishment out of them to the point they give up on faith and go back to living like they did before they ever accepted the truth – THEY FALL AWAY.
- And for some people, life’s worries, riches, and pleasures take preference over (or choke out) commitment to God and His will. These people don’t throw their hands to Heaven wanting nothing more to do with God. Instead they very much believe they have a great relationship with God, but their lives show no maturity in God, no real commitment to being in a two-way relationship with Him. They’ve got Jesus in their hearts and don’t deny His name, but operate in their own strength and wisdom seeking only the good this world has to offer. And they will occasionally honor Him with their presence.
Jesus wanted them, and you and me, to realistically see in this teaching that 75% of people who hear the truth – which is accepting the gift of salvation offered in Christ through the repentance of sins – won’t allow it to grow deep roots within their hearts. Most people will either never sprout or never grow to maturity. “But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” – Matthew 7: 14
But those 25% who do mature, those who persevere in the faith, God is pleased because their maturity leads to a lot more seed than just the single one He began with in your heart, in my heart.
So you know exactly where the seed has fallen, meaning you know exactly where your heart is, what % percentage you fall under. What are you going to do about it? You going to let it remain as is? Or are you going to let Jesus weed out the weeds and thorns? Let Him blast out the underlying rock that keeps you from obtaining God’s nourishment? Let Him prune you to mature you and to produce fruit?
The choice is yours. Let Jesus work on your soil so that you might become a great place to plant His Seed.