In Christianity, people often find themselves asking questions about degrees. No, not academic degrees, but spiritual degrees of the extent to which a Christian may be healthy, weak, borderline, or dead. The "Parable of the Sower" brings to light four rationales in answering the question of: "What is my spiritual degree?"
The "Parable of the Sower" is presented in three out of four Gospels: Matthew ( 13:3-8; 18-23), Mark (4: 2-8; 14-20), and (Luke 8:4-8; 11-15).
In this parable, the sower is a person who uses a throwing technique that spreads the seeds over a field. Yet not all seeds land within good and fertile soil, and so this shortens their lifespan.
Seed 1. The seed fell by the road or foot-path. Hence, it was likely to be stepped on or trampled on by people or animals. Additionally, birds who were seeking food, could come over and peck at it or even eat it.
Seed 2. The seed fell on a solid place, such as a rock or stone, or perhaps even a small gathering or grouping of either one of them. Hence, it laid on top of the ground. It held no covering of earth, nor held the capacity to develop any roots by which to anchor its self into the soil. Additionally, its lack of roots led it to dry-up quickly from exposure to the solar rays of the sun and to not hold moisture from the soil.
Seed 3. The seed fell among thorns. Hence, at the ground level, it could not anchor its roots. Additionally, it was chocked by thorns because they cast shadows that kept the rays of the sun from reaching it. The thorns also absorbed moisture that could have fed the seed through its roots. The thorns also restricted the amount of growth space that the seed could have used for its development into maturity.
Seed 4. The seed fell on good ground: fertile soil. It was able to grow within soil that had been soften and mixed well. The seed landed on a place where it could be covered-up by soil by its sower. It was able to grow roots which were able to gather moisture from the soil and nourish itself. It also had the right amount of space to grow. In the end, the seed grew well and produced a bountiful crop.
In this parable, Jesus transposes the factors that affect the growth of a seed into those that affect the spiritual growth of the Word of God within the heart of a person. In this case the seed is the Word of God and the soil is the heart of a person.
Seed 1-> A person's heart does not fully understand the Word of God. Hence, Satan uses this time as an opportunity to quickly steal it away. If Satan does not do so at this time, the person may come to believe the Word of God and be saved by it.
Seed 2 -> A person's heart receives the Word of God with much gladness and joy. However, it is only received at the surface level; it holds no roots by which to anchor itself within the heart. Hence, this heart runs a high risk of losing the Word of God, and its lifetime within the heart is shorten because it has no roots. This may be observed when challenges such as temptation, tribulation, and persecution come into the life of a new believer. They may be witnessed stumbling and falling ... because they had no roots from which to anchor themselves within the heart.
Seed 3 -> A person's heart receives the Word of God, but it does not reach a point to which it is allowed to grow roots nor develop into maturity. Hence, the cares of the world, pleasures of life, and deceitfulness or riches, they all come down on it and choke it to death.
Seed 4 -> A person's heart hears the Word of God. They take it into their heart and understand it. They retain it with an attitude of nobility and pureness of sincerity. Because the Word of God is grounded well, it has the capacity to develop into a maturity that displays fruit and that fruit is multiplied to work in others.
In closing, if you recently received the Word of God within your heart, then taste it, embrace it, nourish it, and help it grow into maturity deep within your heart. The Word of God will become the life source of your sustenance, and you will forever find yourself riding the storms of life with peace within your heart, and no one can take that away from you.
Let Us Pray. God, You who are great and grand, I want to thank you for allowing the Word of God come into my heart. I ask that you help me to nourish it and allow it to grow into maturity within my heart; let it be well anchored with roots. I also ask that you help me share the Word of God with others too. Thank You God, Amen.
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R. A. Gómez