One day Jesus was teaching by the side of the lake of Galilee. As the crowd increased, many were not able to see or to hear Him. So He entered into a boat, rowed a little way out into the lake, and from that point taught the people as they stood along the shore.
Jesus knew that some of them were deeply interested in what He was saying, while others were there only because of curiosity, so He told them this story found in Matthew chapter 13.
There was once a farmer who went out to sow his seed. As he walked across his field, scattering the grain far and wide, some seeds fell upon a path by the side of the field, and later the birds came and gobbled them up.
Other seeds fell among the rocks, where there was not much soil. These seeds sprouted and tried to grow, but because there was so little soil for their roots, they withered away and died under the hot sun.
Still other seeds fell in a weed-and-briar patch. These, too, tried to grow, but the weeds and briars grew faster and choked out the good seeds.
But there were some seeds that fell in the good, soft soil of the farmer’s field. These sprang up and grew and brought forth a wonderful harvest. Some stalks produced a hundred grains, some produced sixty, and others produced thirty.
Later Jesus explained to His disciples what He meant by this story.
When one hears the word of God without trying to understand, he soon forgets what he has heard. The seeds of truth are snatched away from his mind, just as the seeds of grain that fell upon the wayside path were carried away by the birds.
Another person may hear the word of God with joy and go his way intending to practice what he has heard. Later, when others laugh at him or call him sneering names, he loses his courage. Thus his good intentions weaken and die, as the grain among the rocks, where there was not much soil, withered under the hot sun.
Another person may listen with his mind full of other thoughts. He may be thinking about making more money and having a good time, or he may be worrying about what may happen tomorrow. So the word of God finds no place in his heart. It is choked out like the seeds of grain that fell among the weeds.
But there is another kind of person—one who listens, who wants to understand, and tries to practice what he hears. Such a person’s life pleases God just as the fruitful grain growing in the good soil pleases the farmer.
Parables from Nature, by J. Calvin Reid, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan.