In the business world I hear this principle a lot: “facts tell, stories sell.”
I can remember a story a lot longer than I will remember facts.
Jesus used this sales principle Himself. He told lots of stories during his short, but eternally impacting ministry on earth.
In the Bible, Jesus’ stories are referred to as “parables.” Earthly stories with a heavenly –spiritual meaning.
One parable, the Parable of the Sower and the Seed, Jesus said is the key to understanding all the other parables. You could call it the “Rosetta Stone” of the parables.
In the 19th century, the Rosetta Stone helped scholars to finally crack the code of hieroglyphics, the ancient Egyptian writing system.
This parable, recorded in Matthew 13:1-23, and in Luke 8:4-18 – cracks the code of all the other parables.
And when a great multitude had gathered, and they had come to Him from every city, He spoke by a parable: “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell by the wayside; … Some fell on rock; …And some fell among thorns, … But others fell on good ground, sprang up, and yielded a crop a hundredfold.”
After Jesus told this story to the listening audience, likely of thousands of people, He raised His voice and shouted for emphasis:
“He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
That’s a good indication that this parable holds a valuable key for life the crowd – and we – need to hear.
Later, when the crowd had dispersed, Jesus explains the meaning to his disciples. Those who were eager to learn His truths.
Luke 8: 11-15
11“Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.
12Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.
13But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away.
14Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity.
15But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.
The sower is sowing “seed.” The Seed is the Word of God. The sower can be anyone who is sharing the true Word of God.
The parable focuses on the growth potential of the seed when planted in four types of soil.
The First Soil – The Wayside Soil
This is really hard ground.
It’s the shoulder of the highway. It is packed down and hard as rock in most cases. If you threw seeds down on that hard, dusty ground it would be easy pickins’ for birds to come along and have a nice dinner…
This is a picture of the soil in the heart of an unbeliever. Their heart is hardened. The Seed of the Word of God just isn’t getting through the hard, crusty surface.
What makes a heart so hardened? The devil makes it his priority to harden hearts. It can happen many ways.
Perhaps they got offended by a preacher or church leader when they were growing up. They decided all Christians are hypocrites.
Or they lost a loved one, and someone, attempting to console them said – “well, God must have needed them in heaven.”
Maybe a family member got sick and they said, “I think God is trying to teach me to be patient.”
The devil loves to twist things that he does to kill and destroy people and make people, especially innocent children think that “God did this to them.” This is one way a heart gets hardened.
Satan’s goal is always to steal, to kill, and to destroy. To do his best to keep people from hearing the gospel and being saved. In this hard soil, it is very easy for him to steal the seed of the Word of God away and keep them in bondage.
It says in I Corinthians 2:14 – But the natural man (unsaved*) does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
Do you know of someone with “wayside soil” – who’s heart is hardened to the Seed of God’s good news? You can pray for their heart to be softened so that they can receive the Word and be saved!
Here are some prayers that you can pray for a friend with a hardened heart.
Lord God, I ask that You move upon _______’s heart to accept the Truth of Christ. “Give them a heart to know You. (Jeremiah 24:7)
Overwhelm _______with the reality of Your love for him, that he may “grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge.” (Ephesians 3:18-19)
Lord, use me to “open _________’s eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan, to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in You.” (Acts 26:18).
In Part 2 – I’ll discuss the next three soils. These soils that can be found in the Christian’s heart.
HINT: The type of soil in your heart will determine how well the Seed of the Word of God grows and produces in your life.