How will you receive God’s Word?
If no one has told you before, I'm telling you now. The Bible is full of lessons. One of my many favorites is the Parable of the Farmer Scattering Seed. This particular parable is narrated 3x in the Bible (see Matthew 13:1-18, Luke 8:4-15, and Mark 4:1-20). Jesus shares about the farmer who scattered seeds on four different types of environment:
(1) the footpath environment where birds ate the seeds
(2) the rocky ground environment- had shallow soil where the seed sprang up but wilted under the hot sun
(3) the thorny environment- the seed grew up but the thorns choked out the plants
(4) the fertile environment-the farmer was able to produce a crop that was yielding thirty, sixtyfold, and hundreds of times as much had been planted
You're probably wondering, of course, the seed would produce more in a fertile environment, especially if you know a thing or two about planting/gardening. In the parable, the seeds represent God's word. I believe the environment represents our hearts/mind and how we perceive/receive the word of God. However, Jesus goes on to explain this parable further. Let's break down what happens when we, the farmer, sow the seed (the word of God) and how our environment (hearts/minds) receives it.
(1) the footpath environment represents those who hear the word but don't understand it. The evil one comes and snatches away the seed that was planted in their hearts
(2) the rocky environment represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy, but don't have deep roots and it doesn't last long.
(3) the thorny environment represents those who hear God's word but the word is quickly crowded out by the worries of life, the lure of wealth and so no fruit is produced.
(4) the fertile environment represents those who truly hear and understand God's word. This environment produces fruit.
Reading and thinking about this parable made me realize that I've experienced these environments with God and his word. When I first started going to church, I didn't understand the bible, Jesus Christ, and what it said. I also made me realize the type of journey my faith will take. If I pay attention to my heart/mind, on any given day it shows me how I'm receiving God's word. Whether I am sowing on a footpath, rocky or thorny- this parable shows me the ideal environment, "fertile soil...producing a harvest, yielding thirty, sixty..".
All in all, the parable is powerful and it reminds me to live by the word, apply the word, and cling to it. I want to encourage you to do the same. Next time you hear/read God's word, ask yourself, footpath, thorny, rocky or fertile? Examine which environment you are receiving it. The choice is ultimately your's and how you want God's word to change you.
"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." -Psalms 119:105 ESV