The parable of the Sower has something to say to all of here in 2020. Jesus says good seed was planted, and there were four results from the planting:
- Some seed fell along the path and were trampled, then eaten by birds.
- Some fell on rocky soil and didn’t take root.
- Some fell among weeds that choked the growth out of them.
- Some fell on good soil and yielded a harvest.
I have heard this passage interpreted to show how sinners receive the Gospel message. Some pay no attention, some hear it but don’t receive it, some allow the Gospel to take root but then the trials of life and the lust of the world smother it, but some receive the precious Gospel of Jesus with gladness and grow to maturity in the Truth.
I certainly can’t argue with that interpretation. And all of us, whether believers in Jesus or not, have or do fall into one of those categories.
But Jesus is talking to His disciples, His followers here in Luke 8 and, as always, I try not to apply God’s Word merely to any “them.” What does this parable have to do with my walk with Jesus today?
“Therefore, consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken from him.” (verse 12)
Jesus said these words to His disciples after sharing the parable of the sower, and the parable of the lamp stand. Be careful how you listen, He warns.
Every time I open my Bible or hear a sermon preached or lesson taught, there will be a response similar to one of the “seeds” in Jesus’ parable. Think about it:
- Maybe I don’t like the preacher or the tone of voice of my teacher. Maybe when I open my Bible I am distracted by the TV or by thoughts about my plans for the day. I hear or read the words, but they fall on deaf ears. The devil comes and takes away the word from my heart. That is a sobering thought.
- Maybe I really do listen to the message and/or lesson and may even squeak out an “amen” if I agree with something that is being said. But I walk out the doors of the church and promptly forget. I go about my life as though I never heard the Truth at all. Maybe I read my obligatory Bible verses in the morning and, although I read every word, my mind is elsewhere and I get to the end of my “quiet time” without allowing it to take root. Jesus said that when the trials of life come, there is a danger that I could fall away. Another sobering thought.
- Maybe I’m trying to balance my love of God with my love of the world. I go to church, maybe serve on committees and sing in the choir. But I surround myself with ungodly people the other six days of the week, I blend in, compromise, compartmentalize my life into the church me and the worldly me. My “quiet time” takes a back seat to the busy-ness of my day. I read my Bible and listen to the lessons, but all of that has to fit into an already cluttered heart. Jesus said I’ll never mature if that’s the case. Is it possible to be comfortable among the weeds? Yet another sobering thought.
- Or maybe I’m that fourth seed. I listen AND obey. I dig my roots deep into Scripture, I trust the Gardner to water and nourish my soul, and I use what I learn to get out there and share Jesus with people in my world.
I have to ask myself if I am growing every day or am I stunted, ineffective, allowing Satan to steal what is mine? Do I hunger to know more about God, eager to grow and learn and be strengthened by the Truth of Scripture? Do I take it in and allow it establish root to become a fruitful disciple of my Lord?
Every time I hear a sermon, every time I read God’s Word, there will be a response by me. God is challenging me to be careful how I listen.