That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: “Listen! A sower went out to sow. As as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they spring up quickly since they had no depth of soil. But when then sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Let anyone with ears listen!”
“Hear then the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil once comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing. But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruits and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”
Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23
More than any other passage in the Gospels, the parable of the sower really shows us how to be Christians, and it shows us how to avoid falling away from the faith.
The seeds dropped on the path are like a person who hears the Word, but doesn’t understand. These days those people are frequently close-minded about the Gospel for a number of reasons. They might have been taught the Bible wrong as a young person, they might hold science and proof above religion, they might hate Christians because they think we hate this or that group, or they might have had a bad experience with a believer or a church. The Word can’t help these people, because any good it might do is quickly snatched away.
The seed on rocky ground is a believer with no Biblical foundation. Often stereotypes come to mind of summer youth camps or Mega-Church mass baptisms. The believer gets caught up in a big Experience and is moved to come to Christ. That person will probably be “on fire for Jesus!” for a time, but they don’t spend time in scripture, so the fire fizzles out. You stop seeing them in church. Then their life starts to get hard, and without that scriptural foundation they can’t get through it and begin to lose faith.
The part where your life get’s hard? That’s the thorns. Often even those WITH scriptural foundations lose faith as the thorns begin to choke them. How easily we forget 1 Corinthians 10:13! (“No testing has overtaken you this is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.”) God will never let you get more than you can handle! But your faith in Him must remain strong.
But, if we take the time to understand scripture, spend time with it every day, and remember God’s promises to us and have faith in Him, we can be the good soil. And our seeds will bear the best fruits! (Though, the amount of good fruit may vary from person to person.) That’s why I think this project is so important for me. It’s helping me to do all three things!