In Mark 4 Jesus tells an interesting parable about a farmer sowing seed into the ground. The seeds distributed by the sower represent the Word of God. The ground on which the seeds land represents the different conditions of the human heart that receive the truths of God’s Word. The hardened soil does not allow the seed to even get beneath the surface. The rocky and weed infested soils seem to have a better beginning. But the seed in the rocky soil is unable to develop a significant root system and dies from the heat of the day. And the seed that falls among the thorns and weeds is choked out by the rival plants. It is only one soil, the good soil, that allows the seed to take root, grow, and produce a beneficial crop.
This parable reminds us of the importance of hearing and receiving the truths of God’s Word. We must take our exposure to and intake of God’s Word very seriously. This begins with an intentional and consistent reading, studying, and memorizing of God’s Word. And as we do this we guard ourselves as much as possible from the distractions that may take our focus off of our time in Scripture.
As we do this, we begin to discover some of the many beautiful benefits of allowing God’s Word to grow within our hearts. We find that it guards us against the shallow and fake faith described in the soils containing rocks and weeds. It deepens our relationship with God in such a way that sustains us through the trials and sufferings of life. It protects us from the materialistic pleasures our world offers up to take our attention of the joy that is to be found in our relationship with Jesus.
But know that this process does not happen overnight. When a seed is placed in the ground the plant does not pop up instantaneously. It takes time. In the same way it takes time for God’s Word to grow and deepen in our lives. A fruitful life rarely manifests itself overnight. What we must do is provide the ongoing nurturing of our spiritual lives through repeated exposure to Scripture.
And then, as it grows within us it begins to bear fruit in our lives. One aspect of this fruit is that it produces more seed that is to be sown into the lives of other people. We are called to be like the sower and scatter the truths of the gospel into the lives of the people around us. As we do this, we remember that where the seed lands and the effect it has on the hearts of others is up to God and not us. We are simply called to obediently declare the beauty and majesty of God on display in Jesus in His life and death which provide the way to be reconciled back to God for His glory and our good.