Read Matthew 13:1-23
It’s funny what happens when teachers pause to tell a story that illustrates a point. At that point, people tend to lean in and listen closely. Those who might have been dozing and daydreaming often suddenly become attentive and give the teacher another chance. From the teacher’s perspective, the story is not only an opportunity to engage the listeners once again; it also serves as a window to give further insight to the truth.
The parables of Jesus were most of this and more. As the Master teacher, perhaps He did not struggle with daydreamers and dozers. But His parables . . . His everyday stories with everlasting implications . . . offered windows for many to get a better look at His points. But for others, they were more. For the hard hearted and unbelieving, parables were like a confusing and unsolvable cipher.
If you are a Jesus follower, however, you have not only the explanation of Jesus but also the guidance of the Holy Spirit to enlighten your understanding. The parable of the soils, you see, has everything to do with receptivity to the Word of God. Which soil most illustrates your response?
Hard soil. This soil is impenetrable. Though this person may hear truths about God’s kingdom, there is no understanding and no impact whatsoever.
Rocky soil. The seed penetrates this soil. In fact, this person hears, and even joyfully receives the Word of God. Although there may be signs of life, when opposition arises, any change that seemed to have taken place is interrupted or forfeited.
Thorny soil. Once again, this seed germinates and a plant rises from the ground. Again, this person shows initial signs of spiritual life and advancement . . . at least until the world’s worries and treasures choke out the growth.
Fruitful soil. Here, the seed germinates, grows, and produces a healthy plant and a multiplied crop. This is the person, who, in spite of external circumstances, gives attention to the Word of God, seeking to obey it. This is the person who shows the fruit of the Spirit, the fruit of a changed life, the fruit of good works, and the fruit of other souls impacted for eternity.
Father, might your Word find fertile soil in my heart today!