“What do you make of this? A farmer planted seed. …”
Four people can hear one story and have four different reactions. Out of the four reactions, there is only one that you want. The story about the farmer is the story about the reactions. It’s the answer to the questions about why some people believe and why some people don’t.
“…As he scattered the seed, some of it fell on the road, and birds ate it. …”
The first one will hear you through, but what you’re saying won’t connect with them. Like the non-believing friend of the believer, it’s the one thing about them that they don’t really understand. All of the life-saving information is sitting right there, but nothing comes out from the depths to take it home.
“When anyone hears news of the kingdom and doesn’t take it in, it just remains on the surface, and so the Evil One comes along and plucks it right out of that person’s heart. This is the seed the farmer scatters on the road.” –Matthew 13:19
“…Some fell in the gravel; it sprouted quickly but didn’t put down roots, so when the sun came up it withered just as quickly. …”
Beware of the active listener who nods before you speak. They’ll sign up for anything because they’re already writing before the pen is in their hand. They’re indecisive and deeply fearful, but they’ll make decisions without hearing it through and sign their name without reading. As soon as you walk away, the challenges they blindly agreed to will sit them back down.
“The seed cast in the gravel—this is the person who hears and instantly responds with enthusiasm. But there is no soil of character, and so when the emotions wear off and some difficulty arrives, there is nothing to show for it.” -Matthew 13:20-21
“…Some fell in the weeds; as it came up, it was strangled by the weeds. …”
The gospel is not easy to take in. Even among church goers, the desire to be liked and immediately rewarded drowns out the Truth. People can accept parts and reject other parts until they are a hodgepodge of too much information to sound ignorant and too little information to actually know what they’re talking about. The human desire to be socially approved chokes out the Truth within them. They no longer trust the Gospel, they trust their ability to understand the Gospel.
“The seed cast in the weeds is the person who hears the kingdom news, but weeds of worry and illusions about getting more and wanting everything under the sun strangle what was heard, and nothing comes of it.” -Matthew 13:22
“…Some fell on good earth, and produced a harvest beyond his wildest dreams (Mat 13:8).”
Good earth has been emptied, ripped up, and raked. Most of the rocks have been removed and weeds have been destroyed. The rocks are the lack of connection with the spiritual side of life and the weeds are the need for approval.
This is why I am a grace writer: I am convinced that grace is found in failure. Failure cuts you so deeply that it exposes your spirit. Failure causes you to lose public approval. Both of these things make a person’s life “good earth”. I read something recently that says “grace allows you to see the purpose of the failure.”
You don’t have the Gospel if you don’t have redemption. You are only believing part of it if you don’t believe that God will go the extremes to save people. Rocks and weeds.
“The seed cast on good earth is the person who hears and takes in the News, and then produces a harvest beyond his wildest dreams.”-Matthew 13:23