Parable of the Sower, the Seed, & the Soil
Jesus told a story that is recorded in three of the four gospels (Matthew 13:1–23, Mark 4:1–20, Luke 8:4–15). It is typically titled, “The Parable of the Sower.” However, it could just as appropriately be titled, “The Parable of the Seed” or the "Parable of the Soil.” The story deals with three specific issues: The Sower (who is the Lord), the seed (that is the Good News or message of God’s Kingdom), and the soil (the field is the world or the hearts of men). Jesus tells the story about the one who sows going out and broadcasting the seed over every type of soil and condition. He goes on to say that some seed fell on ground that was hard and the birds came and stole the seed away because it couldn’t get into the soil, because of how hard it was. Some seed fell on soil that was shallow or had rocks just under the surface (The seeds sprouted quickly but the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots, they died). Some seed landed where there were weeds & brush already growing (these seeds sprouted quickly but the surrounding weeds & brush choked out the tender plants). Some seed fell on fertile soil that was prepared and ready to receive the seed (this seed sprouted, matured, and produced a crop that was abundant). Things that stood out to me:
The Sower (the Lord) could have placed the seed carefully so that it was just in the soil that was properly prepared and that would receive it. However, His mercy and His justice demanded that it be sown on ‘all’.
The seed did not change. It was the same. Genetically, the seed contained everything that was needed to bear or produce a good crop.
All of the different soils were potentially capable of producing a good crop, but three of the four types of soil could not produce a good harvest because of circumstances or conditions. They needed some attention from the farmer.
There is an implement in agriculture that is called a harrow. It is similar to a plow in that it breaks up the soil. It pulverizes the hard soils, and it cultivates at the same time so that the soil is ready to receive the seeds that will be sown. When we hear the word “harrowing” we immediately think of something that is emotionally & mentally distressing. Perhaps what we are hearing and seeing, right now, in the world all around us is the farmer preparing His field. I am encouraged to pray for the soil. What if we all asked the one who owns the field to break up, plow, and cultivate the soil so that it can be productive. Even so, Lord Jesus let your Kingdom increase and the kingdoms of this earth fall away.