A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seeds, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. Luke 8:5
The Parable of the Sower is one of Jesus’ most familiar parables. The seed is the Word of God and the soil is the human heart. It represents a teaching on how we potentially respond to the Gospel. Incidentally, the “Birds of the Air” represent Satan.
The gamut of human experience is covered in this devo: from no interest to total unbelief to acceptance and spiritual maturity. The different types of soil represent the different conditions of the human heart.
A typical field had paths within it so that the crop could be accessed. This path was well traveled. It was not irrigated. If any seeds landed on the path, they were trampled or eaten by the birds. The seed never even had a chance to grow.
What kind of human heart does the path represent? Jesus answered that question for us: “Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.” (Luke 8:12).
The people in this group are clearly not Believers. They may express minor interest in the person of Jesus and what He did on the cross, but they never even come close to embracing the truth personally. These people are going to spend eternity separated from God! ETERNITY IS FOREVER!
Some fell on the rock, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. Luke 8:6
The next group of seeds falls on the rocky soil. Rocks are very common in this part of the world. Among the rock there is little or no soil. There is nothing to hold the roots of the plants. Nutrients are rare or non-existent and there is no water. This harsh environment is not conducive to growth.
Seeds may sprout, if they fall between the small rocks. But, the plant quickly withers and dies. Why? It cannot root and therefore cannot access moisture and nutrients.
What kind of human heart does this represent? Jesus said, “Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.” (Luke 8:13). This probably represents a superficial and emotional response to the Gospel. When “it doesn’t seem to work” or persecution comes, these people abandon the Word without ever having received it.
It’s clear that one must acknowledge his sinful condition, repent, and then personally accept the gift of eternal life made possible by Jesus’ work on the cross to truly “be saved.” This is a true commitment, not a casual interest. The people represented by the rocky soil will call on the name of Jesus, in the end, and He will say, “I never knew you!” (Matthew 7:23).
Good works do not make us right with God, but they demonstrate our true character. If you are not sure about your relationship with God, get on your knees and call on the name of Jesus to be saved!
Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. Luke 8:7
The next set of seed is sown among the thorns. These seeds truly root, but there is a problem. The plants compete for nutrition with the thorns. Side by side with plants, grow the thorns. The thorns wrap themselves around the plants and choke them out! The plants never mature and reach their potential.
What do the thorns represent? Jesus tells us that the thorns are life’s worries, riches and pleasures. The thorns prevent growth. Now this group, unlike the rocky soil, is Believers. The problem is that after some initial growth, they are choked. There are countless Believers in this situation. They accept the gift of eternal life, but never allow the Spirit of God to really live through them. Why? Because they never truly die to self. These people never accept God’s plan for their lives. It’s pride. They don’t trust in His sufficiency. God is not their #1 priority. It’s more important to enjoy power, position, riches and pleasures. Who wants to suffer for God?
This does not represent a life well lived. It’s a waste! All that potential thrown out because these people stay aligned with the world and its priorities, despite the fact that they have been transformed internally. This is a very sad situation.
If you are in this situation, get out of it! Realign your priorities. Live your life consistent with the Lord as your #1 priority. Suppress your pride and accept God’s plan for you. This is the only way to be honored by Him in the end.
Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown. Luke 8:8
Last, but not least, some of the seed falls on good soil. The plants can root. There is adequate irrigation and nutrients for growth. It’s not just growth, it is profound growth: 100 fold over what is sown. That is a bumper crop, for sure!
The good soil represents the soft, pliable, spiritually attentive heart. This person hears the word, retains it, and perseveres (Luke 8:15). This is the model to follow. It’s the focal point of the parable. Let’s examine the spiritual condition of this person. He or she has definitely accepted the gift of eternal life. They have repented of their sin and acknowledged that Jesus is God’s only Son. Life is available because of His death on the cross and subsequent Resurrection from the dead (conquering death forever). It’s not a superficial knowledge. This person is a “branch” and Jesus is the vine.
Now, different than the person overcome by “thorns,” this individual has “died to self.” He or she unequivocally trusts in God’s leading of his/her life. The priority is God – not power, prestige, position, comfort or material things. The priority is living life according to God’s plan. When circumstances are difficult, this person doesn’t fall away because he/she is firmly rooted. This person endures trials in life successfully because he/she has set his hope on eternity.
This is the goal: a life well lived. Live to serve; live to do God’s will. Live to follow God’s purpose for your life.
“For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21
He who has ears to hear, let him hear. Luke 8:8b
“Where Do You Stand?”
After Jesus spoke this parable, He uttered the phrase, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” He was referring back to the commission of Isaiah recorded in the 6th chapter of Isaiah. God told Isaiah to deliver a crucial message to the Israelites because they had sinned habitually and had become callused in spirit, “Be ever hearing but never understanding, be ever seeing, but never perceiving.” (Isaiah 6:9). In other words, God was turning His back on these people for a season. THEY HAD THEIR CHANCE!
This was the function of the parables. The callused people wouldn’t understand, but those with sensitive hearts (good soil) would perceive the truth of the teaching. If you are not a Believer or don’t know for sure, I want you to be unsettled by the fact that God could turn His back on the callused. If you keep rejecting Jesus, your heart could become like rocky soil. You could get to the point that you hear but don’t understand, see but don’t really see.
Now for the Believers – it is imperative that you get the thorns out of your life and set proper priorities, dying to self and suppressing your pride. Otherwise it is impossible to mature in your spiritual life.
If your heart is like the good soil, remember this next truth! “No one lights a lamp and hides it in a jar or puts it under a bed.” (Luke 8:16). This exhortation comes right after the Parable of the Sower. In other words, put your faith in action in the marketplace. Show others your faith by your works for the Lord!
# It takes a long time to come to the point of making this complete and effective decision about sin. It is, however, the greatest moment in your life once you decide that sin must die in you- not simply restrained, suppressed, or counteracted, but crucified- just as Jesus Christ died for the sins of the world. OSWALD CHAMBERS