“Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.”
Then Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”
Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? The farmer sows the word. Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.”
– Mark 4:3-9, 13-20
When Jesus told this parable, he was sitting in a boat along the shore of the Sea of Galilee. He got into the boat because the crowd that gathered was so large and was pressing in upon him. Moreover, he was probably observing some farmers in a nearby field casting out seeds to grow a crop. As he watched, he began to tell the people about the Kingdom of God. His main point was to show how entrance into God’s Kingdom depends entirely upon the condition of a person’s heart.
As we learned last week, there are four types of hearts according to Jesus. The first type of heart is the unresponsive or closed heart. When the seed of God’s word lands on this heart, Satan quickly snatches it away because this person’s heart has become so calloused to the things of God. The second type of heart is the superficial or shallow heart. Here, the seed lands and begins to germinate. But because the soil is so shallow, the sweltering heat quickly destroys it. Most people have shallow hearts when it comes to the gospel of Jesus Christ. They only have a little bit of interest. Thus, they quickly turn away to other things. The third type of heart is the worldly or distracted heart.
In America we have become so rich. We are rich in religion, in education, and, in plain old money. I personally believe these are the primary weapons in Satan’s arsenal that he uses to blind us from seeing the gospel. Jesus said in Matthew 19:24, “Again I tell you; it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” When we are rich in religion, we fail to see our sinfulness. When we are rich in education, we fail to see our need to be taught by God. When we are rich in wealth, we fail to see our need for much of anything. Remember, God doesn’t really care about our outward appearance. Our religiosity, our education and our wealth do not impress Him in the least. “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)
What is the condition of your heart? Next week, we will consider the one heart that truly believes. Stay tuned.