The Parable of the Sower
We are all sinners who are constantly tempted by society. When a person hears the Gospel for the first time, spiritual growth is dependent on critical factors.
It was common for Jesus to speak in parables to help people understand the deep concepts and life lessons included in His teachings. The "Parable of the Sower" is very important since it teaches us about the need for a foundation in life to allow for spiritual growth. Having an open mind, avoiding societies distractions and recieving encouragement from fellow Christians are all very important.
The parable of the sower can be found in all three of the Synoptic Gospels (in Matthew 13:1-23, Mark 4:1-20, and Luke 8:4-15). This is where we find Jesus speaking to a large crowd. In the Book of Mathew chapter 13, verse 3 it says:
“Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.”
As usual, this parable still created a certain amount of confusion among the disciples. When asked what He meant, Jesus then replied in verse 19 with:
“When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 20 The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 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. 22 The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. 23 But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”
The parable of the sower accurately categorizes why some people are able to understand the logic of the Bible and why others will hear the same message to only have it go in one ear and out the other. It begins with an open mind and heart. Then it takes commitment and a foundation for growth.
Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.
For better or worse, our commitment will often depend on where one lives around the world as culture and societal influences can greatly effect whether the Scriptures speak to the masses. We must pray for Christians who have little social support. Faith and Physics addresses cultural issues in greater detail within the Popular Culture webpage.
Unfortunately, we normally can't control our environment or the culture and the greater society we live in. However, there are many occasions when Christians have the opportunity to encourage fellow believers with moral support and patience.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:14, all Christians should be reminded about this reality.
"And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted,
help the weak, be patient with them all."
The lesson here is that a relationship with God takes time for a new believer. It is common for one's perspective, their unique issues and distractions to be a great barrier for those who seek God. Christians need to invest their own time to encourage others so they can find a foundation to build upon. Every mutually beneficial relationship, especially one with God, begins like a seed that needs deep roots to grow into a productive relationship.
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
-Isaiah 41:10 (ESV)
Over time, deep-rooted Christians will have the strength to overcome the odds to build their own permanent foundation. With faith in God, studying Scriptures, guidance from the Holy Spirit and some added encouragement, all new Christians will eventually bear their own fruit by encouraging and teaching others.
We are all surrounded by evil forces in a society full of distractions from bad influences. Christ teaches us in the Parable of the Weeds, that sometimes a bad apple in appearance can eventually grow and bear great fruit. We are also taught that it is not our right to judge others as we will all eventually be judged by God.
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