Mark 4:1-20 (NASB)
Parable of the Sower and Soils4 He began to teach again by the sea. And such a very large crowd gathered to Him that He got into a boat in the sea and sat down; and the whole crowd was by the sea on the land.2 And He was teaching them many things in parables, and was saying to them in His teaching, 3 “Listen to this! Behold, the sower went out to sow; 4 as he was sowing, some seedfell beside the road, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Otherseed fell on the rocky ground where it did not have much soil; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of soil. 6 And after the sun had risen, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. 7 Other seed fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked it, and it yielded no crop. 8 Other seeds fell into the good soil, and as they grew up and increased, they yielded a crop and produced thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.” 9 And He was saying, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
10 As soon as He was alone, His followers, along with the twelve, began asking Him about the parables. 11 And He was saying to them, “To you has been given the mystery of the kingdom of God, but those who are outside get everything in parables, 12 so that while seeing, they may see and not perceive, and while hearing, they may hear and not understand, otherwise they might return and be forgiven.”
13 And He said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How will you understand all the parables? 14 The sower sows the word. 15 These are the ones who are beside the road where the word is sown; and when they hear, immediately Satan comes and takes away the word which has been sown in them. 16 In a similar way these are the ones on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy;17 and they have no firm root in themselves, but are onlytemporary; then, when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately they fall away. 18 And others are the ones on whom seed was sown among the thorns; these are the ones who have heard the word, 19 but the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. 20 And those are the ones on whom seed was sown on the good soil; and they hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.”
Do you ever take those online personality tests, the ones where you answer a few questions and find out which TV character you are, or which color represents you? If so, here’s your chance to categorize yourself once more! Anytime Jesus divides humanity up into categories, the first thing we ought to wonder is, “which one am I?”
So take a moment to think about your life and see which one of these descriptions fits you best. Which seed are you?
The Path Seed – Although you may have grown up in a Christian environment, God’s word never really took root in your life. “Christian” has always been more of a social label than a spiritual one, if you even consider yourself Christian at all. And while you might go to church and visit Christian websites (like this one), you don’t really feel very connected to God. In fact, if you’re honest with yourself, you’re life’s not that different from how it would be if you weren’t a Christian. Whatever that passion is that some people have about Christ, that’s not something you’ve experienced firsthand.
The Rocky Seed – You wanna talk about passion? You’ve got it, baby! At least sometimes. You really love God, and you’re totally on fire for Christ… as long as you’re around other Christians. The trouble is, when it comes to taking difficult stands, you’ve never been very good at that. You cave into pressure. A lot. You’re not the kind of person to talk about Jesus around your non-Christian friends, and you’re ashamed to admit that you don’t really act like a Christian when you’re around them either. You want to do better, and you know that you should, but it’s just so hard.
The Thorny Seed – No doubt about it, you’re a Christian. And all in all, you’re a pretty decent human being. You’re not perfect, but who is? To be honest, you know you ought to spend more time with God, having quiet times and Bible studies, and you really do plan to do that sometime. If only you weren’t so busy. You’ve got a lot of stuff going on right now, and a lot of things on your mind. You do pray, but mostly quick prayers at certain times of the day or as needs arise. And your Bible has a bit of a tendency to gather dust in between readings. But it’s not like you’re not a committed Christian, because you really are. You just get, well, a little distracted. There’s school and work and money issues and relationships and health and recreation and before you know it, the day’s over and you never got around to those things you meant to do for God. One of these days, though…
The Fruitful Seed – A relationship with God isn’t just something you talk about; it’s something you experience. Every day. And it’s amazing. You make time for God every day, often having long, intimate conversations that leave you feeling refreshed. You study the Bible regularly, and you’re always learning new things during that time. More importantly, you put what you learn into practice. God’s love and truth shine through you in a way that even your enemies can’t deny. And you’re making a difference for the kingdom of God, something that could accurately be called even a hundred times greater than the seed that was sown in you.
So, which one is you? Be honest with yourself. To be honest with you, I am more of a thorny seed trying to be a fruitful seed.
Are there things God wants you to change in your life to make it more fruitful? If so, what steps do you need to take to make those changes?
Will you make them?