My last post looked at the “secret of the tree” that flourishes even in drought because it is planted by the living waters of the Word. In the parable of the sower, Jesus paints another picture to help us understand not just the power of the Word, but the conditions that are needed for it to grow in our lives and transform us.
God’s Word is so powerful that all He has to do is speak, and things spring into life. But he has chosen to give it to us like seed.
In Matthew 13, Jesus tells of a man who went out to sow the Word of God, the news of the kingdom. The seed was scattered widely, but not all of it grew. The result depended on the state of the hearts of those who received it: on whether the seed found the kind of soil it could set roots down into.
- Those who heard the Word and did not understand it had hearts like hard, rocky paths. The seed lay on the surface and the birds—the Evil One—came and snatched it away.
- Some heard the Word and received it with joy – but that was not enough. The soil of their hearts was shallow. The seed began to sprout, but when the sun and heat came (trials or persecution), the roots could not sustain the plant and it withered away.
- Still others heard the Word and received it, but then spent their time and effort nourishing many other plants too: riches and cares of the world, which like thistles and thorns choked out the good seed.
In none of these situations did the seed of God’s Word reach its potential. Only in the case of those who heard and understood; who attended to the Word, allowing it to remain and grow – only in those people did the Word root strongly enough to bring growth and flourish into fruit: “some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”
Our spiritual growth depends on the power of God, true – but it also depends on the receptivity of our hearts.
What kind of “soil” are you to the Word?
Spend a few minutes today reading the parable of the sower (Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23). Read it several times, asking God to show you the condition of your soul. What is one thing you can do this week to better receive his Word?
* * * * *
This is part of a 4-part series that includes: