“Listen, then, and learn what the parable of the sower means. Those who hear the message about the Kingdom but do not understand it are like the seeds that fell along the path. The Evil One comes and snatches away what was sown in them. The seeds that fell on rocky ground stand for those who receive the message gladly as soon as they hear it. But it does not sink deep into them, and they don’t last long. So when trouble or persecution comes because of the message, they give up at once. The seeds that fell among thorn bushes stand for those who hear the message; but the worries about this life and the love for riches choke the message, and they don’t bear fruit. And the seeds sown in the good soil stand for those who hear the message and understand it: they bear fruit, some as much as one hundred, others sixty, and others thirty.”(Matthew 13:18-23) Good News Translation
The parable of the sower used to be a source of waking dread for us (that’s me and the Holy spirit). It’s not the parable itself that scares us, it’s how Jesus explained the parable.
Here’s what used to scare us: Jesus describes four responses to hearing the Word of God;
We all have the same evidence. Our choice of paradigm determines what we think it’s evidence of.– Matty’s Razor
Responses to the Parable of the Sower
- a lost soul hears the Word but doesn’t understand it,
- a lost soul hears the Word, is excited, but is distracted and forgets,
- someone hears the Word but they’re too entangled in the affairs of life to do anything with it,
- someone hears the Word, they understand it, and puts it into action.
The 4 Responses
For it is by God’s grace that you have been saved through faith. It is not the result of your own efforts, but God’s gift, so that no one can boast about it.(Ephesians 2:8-9) Good News Translation
Here’s what strikes us about the 4 responses that Jesus described: 1 and 2 are lost souls. Maybe it’s not too late for them, but in this situation they didn’t respond to the Word of God in a way which benefited them. Number 4 heard the Word of God, came under the conviction of the Holy Spirit, and gave their heart to the truth. They’re saved by grace through faith. They lead others to the same outcome. That’s their fruit.
Entangled Number 3
A soldier on active duty wants to please his commanding officer and so does not get mixed up in the affairs of civilian life.(2 Timothy 2:4) Good News Translation
Number 3 is what scared us about this parable. It looks to us that number 3 came under the conviction of the Holy Spirit and got saved. They’re Christian. The problem is that they’re hopelessly entangled in the affairs of life and can’t put the Word into action. Our fear was being number 3. This spurred our desire to fight the good fight, but led to a lot of confusion about what to do and how to do it.
So the thing that has been on our mind is this: we believe that Jesus is speaking to born again believers here, for several reasons, especially when he says that “they don’t bear fruit.” So obviously the potential was there for the seed to bear fruit. It just didn’t.