One day Jesus was sitting by the lake, and as people noticed him they started to gather around. Eventually it got to a point he realised there was no room for him, so he called over to one of his disciples and they got into a boat and pulled away from the shore a little. As he sat there in the boat people sat down on the shore of the lake and he began speaking to them in parables.
Beyond the people who were sitting at the side of the lake Jesus could see a farmer on the hillside in the distance. He had a bag of seed hanging by his side and as he walked along he would reach into his bag and grab a handful of seed and scatter it.
So he said to the crowd: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was walking along in his paddock, scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some of the people were nodding their head. They knew what it was like to scatter the seed and to see the wood pigeons flying down behind them and eating them. He went on: Some fell on rocky places, where it didn’t have much soil. It began to grow, but when the sun came up, the plants just withered away. Other seed fell among weeds and they grew up and choked the plants. But some seed fell on good soil, where it produced an amazing crop.
Some time later the disciples came to Jesus to ask him why he spoke in parables. It was almost as if they had missed the point themselves. They were asking him about the process of speaking in parables, rather than asking him about the meaning of the parable itself. So Jesus had to explain what he had been saying to the crowd.
He said to his disciples: You see, when anyone hears the message about the kingdom and doesn’t understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path, he explained. The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and initially receives it with joy but they haven’t put down any roots and they last only a short time. When difficulties come they fall away.
The seed falling among the weeds refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it fails to grow. But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. And the word of God dwells in them and produces a great result.
Perhaps you’ve heard God’s Word explained in songs, you’ve heard the Bible read, or you’ve been to church, but what was the result of what you heard?
Perhaps the idea of following Jesus just seems too hard. There’s so much else to do, so many pressures that reading the Bible or going to church doesn’t really fit your schedule. Perhaps you’ve been a follower of Jesus in the past, but somehow it doesn’t seem to work for you any more.
I think when Jesus was telling this story he knew that there would be people who were listening to him, who could identify where they fitted into the story. But he was showing that there is still opportunity for seed to fall on good soil and produce amazing results.
I’d encourage you to help that seed to germinate right now. Read the Bible for yourself. Find someone you can talk to. Find a church where you can begin to water that seed and feed it and experience God’s growth in your life.