A farmer or gardener knows that placement of seed is vital to it’s growth. They take care to make sure anything that will cause damage to the growth of the plant is taken out of the environment. Providing nourishment through routine watering, plenty of sunshine, and vitamin packed rich soil, makes for the optimal growth environment.
Let’s drop our children off in the middle of the city and tell them to fend for themselves, without any prior survival training or resources to live. The environment they are dropped in makes a difference to their growth. No one in their right mind would do that. Neither would you plant a seed in unprepared ground. God wants the same for those who hear His Word.
In the story of the parable of the seed, Jesus describes four different types of ground. Parables are similar to illustrations that preachers and teachers give to make a point within their audiences scope of understanding. Christ, however, told parables knowing some would understand and others were too closed off to see the connection. Some couldn’t understand his reasoning, which was part of his intent.
The Four Types of Ground:
- The seed dropped on a footpath equals a person hearing about the importance of becoming a Christian but the devil messes with their mind, making them believe the opposite of what they hear about God. This causes them to deny Christ, insuring that with this belief they will not go to heaven….score one for the devil.
- Seed dropped on rocky soil represents the person who believes about the importance of becoming a Christian, for a short time, but then turns back to their sinful ways. The sinful things seem more fun, making God seem more like a fairy-tale than real. They typically believe just about anything could be accurate. These people are also the ones that can appear “holy” on Sundays, say all the right things, pray, and even occasionally read their Bibles, but they don’t often see great things through their actions.
- Now the seed dropped in the thorns is a person who believes about the importance of becoming a Christian but they care more about themselves and their possessions then they do about people. They lose who they are supposed to be which lessens their self-esteem and self-worth.
None of the first three will experience the full example of Christ, potentially just barely getting by.
A person in the rocky soil or the thorns keeps coming back to God, over and over. They really do understand that something is missing. Unfortunately, they have a hard time believing it is as simple as following Christ. These are the same people that will stand up at the altar each week asking for forgiveness or raising their hands when asked if they want to get saved, every week. They have passion but no depth.
- Finally, the seed dropped on good soil equals a person with great integrity. This individual is someone who holds onto the Word of God, puts it into action, and watches how God does great things through their actions. They know who they are, with confidence, because they are in the Word and believe what it says about them.
A person in good soil understands where their source of life and growth comes from.
We are ministers of the Word of God externally to others and internally to our households. Where we drop His Word does matter. God wants the message of Jesus spread to the ends of the earth. His Word is good and true, always. However, when sharing it with different populations some prep work needs to be done.
As I preach to poor villages in the country of Pakistan, I am prepping their soil through meals and needed personal items. It is like breaking up footpaths, digging up the rocks, or yanking out the weeds and thorns. Once the soil is ready, the seed is planted and will produce a harvest. When we attempt to share the good news of Jesus with those not ready to receive, it is just repetitive teaching of Jesus. It is completely superficial void of depth.
Footpath, Rocks, Thorns, or Rich Soil…Where are you sharing?
“So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don’t need to start again with the fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds and placing our faith in God.” ~Hebrews 6:1 NLT.
We have been doing church backwards for far too long. We need to go out into the world to share the basics, through addressing their needs. This prepares the ground. The discipleship begins, once the ground is ready, they will receive the seed in good soil.
You wouldn’t send your kids out into the big city without them knowing how to take care of themselves. Get the ground ready. Teach them about God, finances, the care and keeping of their stuff and others. As they grow, increase their responsibilities. Help them through their education, in starting a job, and then finding their own place. They will be ready to plant with a harvest to follow.
The same is said for sharing the gospel to the world.