Forthright Magazine

Men’s hearts are soil for the Kingdom seed

Jesus taught a large multitude that came to him by the Sea of Galilee. The crowd was so large that he got into a boat to teach (Mark 4:1-20). He told a parable about a farmer who went out to his field to sow seed. A portion of that seed fell on the wayside, or foot path. Palestine was a land without fences in Christ’s day. People walking through an area followed basically the same path, which became packed. Seed falling on this ground would either be trampled under foot or eaten by the birds.

Other seed fell on rocky ground. This was a rock ledge covered by a small layer of topsoil. Seed on such ground would readily spring up. The roots could not go deep, so the plant soon withered. Some of the seed fell on ground already covered with thorns. The thorns would compete with the young seedling for sun and moisture. The thorns finally would choke the seedling to death. Seed also fell on good ground. Harvest time found such ground yielding thirty, sixty or one hundred times as much grain as was originally sown.

Parables can reveal the mystery of God’s plan to save man which had been hidden from previous generations (compare Rom. 16:25-27). Those parables can also hide the truth from those not ready to receive it. They would view the stories as innocent references to common life. Interestingly, Paul says the rulers of this world would not have crucified Jesus if they had fully understood the mystery (1 Cor. 2:6-8). Jesus promised those who had receptive hearts would learn about the kingdom of heaven. Those who had little understanding and refused to receive more would find the parables presenting them with a maze which obscured understanding (Isaiah 6:9-10). The Lord pronounced a blessing on all those who saw and actually perceived the truth revealed in the parables. Others had longed to see the fullness of the truth but had not been given the same opportunity (1 Pet. 1:10-12).

Jesus used this parable to point out the responsibility an individual has when he hears. The seed of the kingdom is God’s word. The sower is someone who proclaims the word. The four soils represent different conditions of the human heart.

The wayside soil represents those who have closed their mind to the word of God (Hebrews 3:12-13). The rocky soil stands for the person who does not follow through completely in their obedience and develops no depth of understanding. Such people will abandon truth when hard times some. The thorny-soiled heart is that individual who loves the cares and pleasures of this life more than God’s kingdom, which chokes God’s word out of his life. The good soil represents the person who understands, receives and patiently follows the word of God.

The reception of the gospel and the fruit it produces depends on the hearer’s heart. The real hearer listens, understands and obeys. We must be sure we keep our minds open to truth and do what it says. Teachers need to remember it is their job to sow the seed without guessing what type of soil a person’s heart might be. It is God who gives the increase (1 Corinthians 3:5-7). Faithful Christians will sow the seed of the kingdom (2 Tim. 2:2; Mark 16:15-16). We cannot be silent and be faithful!


Gary C. Hampton
Latest posts by Gary C. Hampton (see all)