How is the parable of the sower relevant
Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable?"
Mark 4:13 NIV

During His three years of public ministry, Jesus taught people a range of topics through parables. Jesus also makes it clear that the parable in Mark 4 and Matthew 13 was the most important. If we don’t understand this parable then we won’t understand any of the other parables he taught.

The most important parable, according to Jesus, is the parable of the sower. We need to understand why the parable of the sower is still relevant today, and essential for us to know it.

Why is the parable of the sower the most important parable? Jesus is teaching us about the condition of our hearts. He is teaching us about how we receive His words.

Not understanding this parable limits the power of Jesus.

If we neglect what Jesus teaches here, then we can’t understand or receive God’s Word. Having an understanding of this parable is what opens the door to the rest of Jesus’ teaching. This parable is what either opens or closes the door to our understanding.

What Is The Parable Of The Sower?

Jesus explains that there are four different conditions of the human heart. Three out of four of the heart conditions are damaging and limit the results of God’s Word.

When we begin to understand the four heart conditions, we understand how to ensure our heart is in good condition. This unlocks the door to our breakthrough, blessing, and we begin to step into the life God intends for us.

The three negative heart conditions are the wayward heart, the stony heart, and the weedy heart. The good heart condition is described as good soil, where seeds are sown and produce great fruit. The Word of God is perfect, so if there are no results, the problem is always with the soil, not the seed.

Theodore Roosevelt Quote

The Wayward Heart

The first heart condition mentioned is the wayward heart. God’s word is sown, and it falls on the path. Immediately the birds of the air, or satan, come to steal the seed. Matthew writes that the word is stolen because people don’t understand the word.

"When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path."
Matthew 13:19 NIV

I recently discovered that this was my heart’s condition for most of my life before I encountered God in 2016. I previously thought that I had a stony heart. The reality was that I didn’t understand the Bible.

I had heard many people preach about having a heart of stone, and how God would replace it with a heart of flesh. I assumed that was me, and to some degree it was.

But then I realized that the person with the rocky soil received the word with gladness, which I did not. I had gone to church but didn’t have any understanding of Jesus, prayer, or the Bible.

How do you deal with a wayward heart?

For me, it took consistency and a lot of excellent teaching from a variety of people. I had to do a lot of research and listened to a lot of sermons. The problem here is not understanding, so the solution is to gain an understanding.

I needed the principals of the Bible explained in a way that I understood. This requires stepping into a place of humility. A wayward heart requires you to change your position.

So many people today don’t have a teachable heart. If you don’t have a sense of wonder about God or don’t find yourself asking God questions or asking God for wisdom, it might be time to reposition your heart.

The Stony Heart

The second heart condition is the stony heart.

"The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away."
Matthew 13:20-21 NIV

How do you deal with a stony heart?

People with a stony heart have no root system. That may look like going to church on Sunday, and then having little to nothing to do with church or other Christians until the next Sunday. This may look like going to church for an hour every week, but not serving on a volunteer team, or not spending time with anyone at your church.

Would anyone notice if you’re not there?

Does anyone at your church know what’s really going on in your personal life?

God wants everyone to be planted in His Church. Being planted means you’re there to stay, through the good, bad, and ugly.

I believe some of the usual stones we need to remove from our hearts are unforgiveness, offense, and a lack of vulnerability.

Getting your roots down deep into the ground isn’t easy by any means. It demands persistence. It’s going to be a battle. You’ll need to push through the dirt. You’ll need to be real with other people, and be willing to let go of some things.

Jesus instructs us that a wise person will build their house on the rock and dig deep. I’ve found that as you’re digging down into the earth, you’re bound to find rocks getting in your way.

When we find rocks as we dig deeper, we have two choices– remove them, or ignore them. When we pull out the rocks we enable ourselves to keep digging. If we ignore the rocks, we halt most of our progress.

Even if it’s a challenge to remove the stones from our heart, the long term benefits far outweigh the short term difficulties.

The Weedy Heart

The last adverse heart condition we need to be aware of is the weedy heart.

Jesus explains that the weeds in our heart choke His word, rendering it weak and powerless.

"The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful."
Matthew 13:22 NIV

You don’t have to do anything for weeds to grow.

Weeds even manage to grow in sidewalks. Weeds growing in your heart isn’t a sign that you’re doing something right or wrong; they just grow.

They don’t ask for permission. So we have the responsibility of recognizing them and pulling them out. Weeds are called the cares of the world. The weeds in our heart flourish when we have our priorities out of order.

Weeds are easy to spot when you look at where your time and money are going. Everything belongs to God. The entire universe, all the money in the world, from the beginning of time to the end.

God has given you authority over your money and your time. Where are you spending it? Would people know you’re a Christian by looking at your weekly schedule?

In Malachi 3, God instructs us to bring the tithe, 10% of our increase into His house. Why? So that there is food for us there. If people aren’t tithing you’ll find church to be dry, boring, and unsatisfying because there’s no sustenance there.

God doesn’t require us to give Him all of our time or money. Instead, He asks us to trust Him fully.

If you’re unable to give something, whether it’s your time or money or material thing, then you don’t own it. If you’re unable to give 10% of your money to your God, then you aren’t in control of your money, your money is in control of you.

You don’t own your money it owns you.

I’m going to call a weed a weed. Weeds in your heart are good for nothing. They will only steal the life and nutrients you’re meant to enjoy.

I don’t believe that we need to achieve a perfect heart condition.

I know my heart isn’t in perfect condition, some days are better, some are worse. Even the best cared for garden has some rocks and weeds in it.

Our job is to tend to our hearts as best as we can.

When Mary first encountered Jesus after He resurrected, she saw Him as a gardener.

"At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. He asked her, 'Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?' Thinking he was the gardener, she said, 'Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.'” John 20:14-15 NIV

That’s one aspect of who Jesus is. He is the gardener, always ready and prepared to help us grow and improve our heart condition.

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