Soils and hearts are alike as far as Jesus was concerned.
There is the hard ground next to a road. The little grassy paths on which the people of Palestine walked would become hardened. The soil would become so packed down as to be almost impenetrable. Any seed inadvertently thrown down on this ground would be “devoured” (Mark 4:4). A hard-hearted person may hear the word of God, but in no time at all Satan takes it away (Mark 4:15).
Stony ground fairs only marginally better. The sowed seed begins to grow but soon after it sprouts the sun kills it because it had no source of water (Mark 4:5-6). It has been said, “Well begun is half done,” and that may be true. The problem is that well begun is not completely done. These stony-hearted folks begin well, but when persecution comes, they fall away (Mark 4:17).
Some seed falls on ground where thorns are already growing. Perhaps the farmer cut off the tops of the thorns in an effort to kill them, but the roots of those plants were already in place. Since the thorns have a head start, the seed is choked to death (Mark 4:7). There are people whose worldly interests already clutter their minds to the point that, even if they were to hear the word, it couldn’t grow for very long (Mark 4:19).
Then, there is the seed sown on good ground. The ground has been prepared correctly and all the conditions are right. When the seed falls into this ground it has no problem growing strong roots and springing up into a healthy plant. Not only is the good soil important to the beginnings of the desired plant, but also the plant grows until it completes its purpose by giving fruit.
The book of James teaches this principle. We are begotten by the word of truth (James 1:18). We learn to listen more than we speak and to put anger in its place (James 1:19-20). We receive with meekness the implanted word (James 1:21). But that’s not all. We become doers of the word and not only hearers (James 1:22-24). Because we are doers of the word, we continue in the law of Christ (James 1:25). If our religion is true, we become people whose lives show the truth of God’s word (James 1:26-27).
Just as a plant grows and achieves its purpose, those who are obedient to the will of Christ grow up and achieve his purpose. Are you growing?