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Jesus explained to the disciples that He spoke in parables, “…because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand” (Matthew 13:13). Parables were stories teaching practical lessons to those who wanted to hear and understand and to hide His message from those who were unreceptive.

The parable of the Sower (Matt. 13:3-9, 18-23) is one of those parables that can be very plain if we choose to accept what the Lord is saying. Jesus speaks plainly of the seed as the Word (vs. 19). In sowing, the seed falls on different types of soil: roadside, rocky, thorny and good. Each soil is representative of hearts who hear the Word. The outcome of that seed and growth is based on the soil. We know that the heart of people who hear the Word will determine the amount of fruit or if there will be any fruit at all.

One of the obvious lessons we need to take from this parable as children of God is the need to be about sowing the Word. I know as a young person, we were encouraged to be about evangelism, aka: sowing the Word! Is it possible that over the years the church has lost its desire to evangelize? Have we determined beforehand that the soil around us is no good, so why bother sowing the seed? Is it possible that we are looking for others to do the work, because sowing the seed is just not my thing? The church is to be about teaching a lost world about Jesus Christ and salvation through Him and Him only (Matt. 28:18-20; John 14:6; Eph. 3:10). Our world needs that message today!

Early in my work as a minister of the gospel, I was reclining at home on a Sunday evening, following the usual “exhaustion” of the day, but also frustrated because I was sure I had preached the gospel and I knew there were those who should have responded to the Lord’s invitation. But then I was reminded of this parable and how different hearts will respond in different ways. Our task is to teach whenever we have the opportunity.

Some of that teaching will fall on deaf ears and hardened hearts. But, some of that teaching will fall on hearts anxious to grow for the Lord. We may become frustrated because we don’t see the desired response, but our task is to teach! We have no control over how people will respond to the Word. Let us concentrate more on sowing the seed, and less time worried about the result. God will give the increase (1 Cor. 3:7).

Paul Mowrer
Monticello church of Christ
Monticello, AR

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