A Texas preacher, David Dykes, claims this is a true story, with the names changed to protect the innocent.
Little Tommy attended first grade Sunday School faithfully. He loved his teacher, Mrs. Smith. She told great Bible stories and would always end the story by saying, “And, boys and girls, the MORAL of the story is …” Little Tommy enjoyed learning about the morals of each Bible story.
But when Tommy entered second grade, he moved up to another Sunday School class, taught by Mrs. Jones. She told Bible stories too, but she never ended them by giving the moral of the story. After a few weeks, Tommy’s mom asked him how he liked his new Sunday School teacher. Tommy said, “Mrs. Jones is okay. The only problem is that she doesn’t have any morals.”
The stories of Jesus, called Parables, always contained a moral to the story. Sometimes Jesus explained the moral. Often times he didn’t. In Matthew 13:3-9 Jesus tells the parable of the sower and the seed. But in verses 18-23 he explains the parable.
In the parable, the sower is probably Jesus. However, it would apply to any preacher, pastor, or Christian today who was teaching the Word.
The seed is the Word of the Kingdom. This is an often-used Bible metaphor. Jesus said, “the seed is the Word of God” (Lk. 8:11). It is incorruptible and by it, we are born again (1Pet. 1:23-24).
The soil represents the heart of the hearer. In the story, there are 4 kinds of soil on which the seed is sown.
1. The Wayside. Here the seed falls on top of harder, packed soil. It lies on top of the ground and the birds come and eat it. This represents Satan, the wicked one, snatching the Word away. While the Devil contributes to this, the failure for the seed to penetrate the soil is caused by the hardness of one’s own heart.
2. The Stony ground. This heart hears the Word. Receives it with joy. Yet lacks root. They are not grounded. When trouble arises, they’re not able to endure. And wither in the heat of hardship.
3. Thorny Ground. This person hears the Word and again receives it with joy. However, their ability to bear fruit is choked out by three things. The cares of the world. The deceitfulness of riches. And the pleasure of this life.
4. The Good Ground. The soil of this heart. Hears the Word. Understands. And produces fruit. This person possesses a good and noble heart.
Like little Tommy, we need to hear the moral of this story. Personally. And seriously.
1. Do you have a Hard Heart?
Like the wayside soil, where people walk and pack down the ground, are you allowing others to harden the soil of your heart? The wise man warns“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Prov 4:23). Or are you allowing sin to harden your heart? (Heb. 3:12-15?)
Hearts, like the ground, need to be plowed and cultivated to receive the seed. This can be a painful process. If you’re not obeying the gospel and you know you should, be careful not to harden your heart.
2. Do you have a Shallow Heart?
This heart is like thin soil on rocks. The Word is unable to take root and grow. This is the emotional hearer who really does not understand the cost involved in the Christian life. You’ve got to get the rocks out! Learn to deal with difficult times. Allow the Word to penetrate deeply into your heart, mind, and soul.
3. Do you have a Crowded Heart?
Have you allowed the weeds to crowd out the seeds? The weeds of material cares? The weeds of riches? The weeds of worldly pleasure? The most dedicated disciple is always in danger of worldliness choking out the Word. Beware!
4. Do You Have a Fruitful heart?
The true believer in the rich soil of his heart bears fruit. For too long in the church, we have coddled church members who were not fruitful Christians.
Jesus says that the evidence of your heart is the fruit you produce. If you are not bearing fruit, it is time to take a long look at your heart.
Don’t get discouraged when some won’t receive the Word. Don’t be disillusioned when some Christians quit the faith. Don’t be disturbed that some are not producing as much fruit as other Christians. Some will produce a lot. Others a little. And some seeds will take longer to germinate than others. Finally, let’s not be dissuaded from sowing the seed.
This familiar and age-old parable has a moral. A timeless application. One that we would each do well to thoughtfully consider and personally apply to our own lives.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman