Forthright Magazine

Scattering the seed of God’s word

Jesus taught by telling stories – we call them ‘parables’. The stories he told are usually from daily life in first century Galilee and Judea. But the point wasn’t the story – the incident he would talk about was used to illustrate a spiritual truth. Although he didn’t explain each story, he told his disciples what one of the early ones meant so they could know how to interpret others.

“When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables. He told them, ‘The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables so that, ‘ “they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!”’ Then Jesus said to them, ‘Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable?’” (Mark 4:10-13 NIV)

The story Jesus told was about a farmer who went out to plant seeds. The way planting took place was to simply scatter the seed across the ground. The result of this was that the seed landed everywhere on the land: the path, the rocks, the thorns and weeds, as well as the prepared ground.

The seed sprouted almost everywhere. The problem was that if the soil wasn’t good it didn’t mature and produce the crop. The path was too hard so it didn’t come up – the birds ate it. On the rocks it came up but there was no depth of soil so the sun dried it up. Those in the weeds were chocked out because there was too much around it. Only on the good ground did it grow and produce a harvest that was in excess of what had been initially planted. Jesus said the types of soil represented people.

“Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. 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. Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop – some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.” (Mark 4:15-20)

We obviously want to find people who are going to hear the good news of Jesus, accept it, and become Christians who are faithful and active. Sadly, by looking at people, we can’t tell who will be ‘good soil’ and who isn’t. Although someone might not initially be interested it could be that later on they will be. It is difficult if not impossible to judge how people will react when they hear about Jesus simply by looking at them.

Perhaps the lesson of the story is simply this: we need to be ‘scattering seed’ – presenting God’s word – wherever and whenever we can to everyone who will hear it. In this way, we will reach those who are willing to accept God’s word. We should remember that anytime we teach God’s word it is profitable.

“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:10-11)

Let’s be telling the good news of Jesus wherever we can to whoever will listen!

Photo by Beyza Yalçin from Free for use.

Readings for next week: Mark 4-8


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