“But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.” Mark 4:20
I love the stories Jesus told. They were more than just stories though, they were parables. Absolute truths in this world that line up with God’s Kingdom’s principles. He gave pictures that were so wisely given they were not only relevant in the day He taught them in person, but they are timeless. Throughout all time, they could be understood by any generation because the subjects He used were things that never change.
In Mark 4 He gives a parable about a sower/planter planting seed (a farmer). We can understand seed today, because a seed has been the same since the beginning of time here on earth. You plant it and it grows. What’s interesting about this parable is in verse 13 of Mark 4, Jesus tells His disciples that if they can’t understand the meaning of the “Sower sows the word” parable, then they wouldn’t be able to understand any of His teachings by parable. So, this is foundational insight into the kingdom of heaven way of living above your circumstances.
What I want to draw out of this teaching is the point that Jesus made throughout the entire teaching that the seed was the same (the Word of God) but the ground that seed was planted in made all the difference in how the seed would grow. It was a perfect parallel of how a seed grows in the earth. Wayside, stony, and thorny/weedy ground are not where an experienced farmer plants. He plants in the ground that has been cultivated and well prepared to receive the seed.
I think this is Jesus’ point in the story that before we can plant the Word of God into other people effectively, we have to prepare the ground of their heart, first of all with prayer, then with God’s love and grace. We live in a broken world with broken people who are desperately seeking love and hope. Sometimes people we meet are not lovely because of being beaten up so badly by the world. Others may be beautiful and look like they have it all together, but underneath it all they have hard and cold hearts of stone that need softened with the love of God. Allow the Holy Spirit to break up the hard, fallow ground in the hearts of those around you as you build a relationship of trust and integrity with them. Then when the ground of their heart is ready, you can plant the seed of God’s Word and it will grow up some thirty, some sixty and some a hundredfold.
Today I want to encourage you to start with your own heart. If the seeds of God’s Word seem to bounce off or blow away right after you hear them, then take time to prepare and cultivate the ground of your own heart. Break up that fallowness by basking in the love of God today. Spend some time in praise and worship. Then when you are renewed in the spirit of the things God has for you, you can spend time reading, meditating, and planting God’s Word permanently in your heart. It will generate life-giving energy that will give you a whole new outlook in your life! Now you are ready to share it with other!
Today’s scripture reading: Mark 4:1-13
1 And again He began to teach by the sea. And a great multitude was gathered to Him, so that He got into a boat and sat in it on the sea; and the whole multitude was on the land facing the sea.
2 Then He taught them many things by parables, and said to them in His teaching:
3 “Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow.
4 And it happened, as he sowed, that some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds of the air came and devoured it.
5 Some fell on stony ground, where it did not have much earth; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of earth.
6 But when the sun was up it was scorched, and because it had no root it withered away.
7 And some seed fell among thorns; and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no crop.
8 But other seed fell on good ground and yielded a crop that sprang up, increased and produced: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.”
9 And He said to them, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
10 But when He was alone, those around Him with the twelve asked Him about the parable.
11 And He said to them, “To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to those who are outside, all things come in parables,
12 so that ‘Seeing they may see and not perceive, And hearing they may hear and not understand; Lest they should turn, And their sins be forgiven them.’ ”
13 And He said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables?