Matthew 13:3-9 – “Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: “Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” NKJV
The parable is called, “The Parable of the Sower”, but it is really not about the sower. As a matter of fact, the sower could really be anyone, as the sower is not an important part of the parable. I’ll come back to the sower.
The seed that the sower sowed is the seed of the word, or of the gospel. The seed is important because the sower, whomever that may be, is sowing (teaching or preaching) the Word. That’s important to know to understand this parable.
The ground is the heart of the individual who hears the word. There are four types, the wayside, stony places, thorny ground, and good ground. Each of these individuals hear the word. We will use each type of hearer, or ground, to learn what Jesus is saying.
Let’s begin with the seed that falls by the wayside and is eaten by the birds. “And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them.” Jesus tells us in His explanation that when anyone hears the Word and doesn’t understand it, it’s easy for the enemy to steal the word. This is likened to when you hear a sermon, that your mind rejects for whatever reason, and the enemy steals that word from you. If you have an issue with the “tithing” message, when you hear it, it would fall on the wayside of your life, because you didn’t understand it, and that keeps you from believing it and receiving the blessing of tithing. It was wasted seed in your regards. This person is unreceptive to the Word.
Then we have the seed on stony ground. “Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away.” Jesus said this person also hears the word and receives it with joy, has no root in himself, but endures for a little while. As soon as he is persecuted or have some type of tribulation come upon him because of the word, he is tripped up and the word is null and void in his life. Let’s stay with tithing. In this case, you hear about tithing, you get excited about tithing and as soon as someone in your family start giving you a hard time about it, you decide it’s not that important. The word had no root in you and withered away. This person is shallow, and has no true interest in the word.
The thorny ground has a little more depth to it. “And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them.” Jesus explains that this person hears the word but allows the cares of the word and the deceitfulness of riches to choke the word. This person has heard the word about tithing. As they are being taught about tithing the enemy reminds them of their bills, of what they could do with that money, or just too preoccupied with the world. And for some reason, that person just can’t seem to bring himself to tithe or to do so faithfully. The word has been choked out of his life. Jesus said, this person is unfruitful.
Lastly, good ground. “But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.” This person not only hears the word, but Jesus said this person understands the word that has been heard. This individual receives the word as truth, believes it is necessary for their life, and acts upon it. This person would be the one who becomes a tither. Faithful, diligent, committed tither, because the word that was heard and understood took root in his heart. This person will have much fruit, in differing degrees of fruitfulness, but will still the reward of being good ground.
Let’s go back to the sower. The sower is the pastor, the Bible teacher, the Sunday School teacher, the conference speaker, in other words, the deliverer of the word. The sower has the responsibility to sow the word, but every person has the responsibility to have good ground, a heart that is open to the Word. Grant it, some things may be new to you, and you may need to have more clarity before you embrace it, but your ground should be open to receive the word.
Another point about the sower. The sower sows the word and has no control over the ground the seed will fall upon. In an audience, of any size, there will be all types of soil, but the sower’s responsibility is to sow; and the hearers’ responsibility is to hear and gain understanding in order to bear much fruit.
Being unreceptive, shallow, or too preoccupied with the world hinders the word of God from taking root in the soil of our hearts. It hinders fruitfulness in our lives. This is why Jesus said it is such an important parable and it helps us to understand the others. What is produced in our lives, depend on how we hear and understand the word that is sown. Wonderful Jesus!