Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. . .
I’m sure many of you have read the parable of the sower. I guess I’ve either read it or heard it hundreds of times over my life. My entry in Voices of the Faithfulis based on it.
Here’s a question that used to bother me: which soil represents the true Christian? I’ve heard different answers in lessons and sermons.
Have you ever wondered about this? It seems pretty clear-cut with the seeds that “fall along the path”—they represent people that don’t understand or receive the gospel. But there are three more seeds/soils mentioned–what about them? What about the seed that withers under persecution? What about the one that is choked out by weeds? Was Jesus saying they weren’t truly saved?
I’ve seen all four responses to the gospel. I’ve shared my faith with those who just don’t seem to “get it.” I’ve also seen people who respond to the gospel but never bear fruit. Fortunately, I’ve also been in ministry long enough to see some respond and become fruitful followers of Jesus.
Further complicating the matter, I’ve seen the dynamics of this parable in my own life. There have been times, for example, when I’ve allowed the “cares of the world” to crowd out my love for Jesus.
Here’s what I’m thinking: maybe I was asking the wrong question!
I think this parable is more about fruitfulness and faithfulness than salvation. I’m not sure Jesus ever intended for us to ponder which seed/soil represents saving faith. Even if He did, I think there are other questions/truths which are much clearer.
Here are (in my estimation) better questions: which seed/soil bore fruit? Why didn’t they all bear fruit? How can I be sure to bear fruit? I believe these more logically match the point(s) of the parable.
These questions are at the heart of my preaching/teaching. When I preach on this text, I warn against a shallow commitment and a cluttered heart. I challenge listeners to bear “hundredfold” fruit for God’s glory. I encourage them to sow generously, even when they don’t see immediate results. This, it seems, more closely matches the essence of the parable.
What do you think?
More from my site