The Parable of the Sower is one of Jesus best known parables. It’s told in the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. Unlike many of Jesus parables, after telling the parable Jesus gave those gathered an explanation, and for this alone it is noteworthy. Yet, it stands out for another reason, it looks at why is it that Jesus talks in parables, and why they seem to impact some people more than others.
In this so called, Parable of the Sower, Jesus tells of seed scattered across four different types of soil.
There is the soil which is like a path, where the seed does not take root and is snatched away. There is rocky soil which seed takes root in only for a short while, as well as soil with thorns, which seed takes root in but never really thrives. There is also good soil, which is capable of producing a crop of 30, 60 and even 100 times what was sown.
Each soil received the same seed, sun, and rain yet they produce vastly different crops. The only difference is the soil.
Jesus explains, we are the soil and the seed is the word of God. He invites us to consider what kind of soil we will be, and alerts us to that which prevents us from being like the good soil. Sometimes we are like the path, where the word of God seems to bounce off us and is all too easily snatched away by Satan.
There are other times we’re more like the rocky soil; we hear what God is saying, we trust it, but only for a while. We let troubles and persecution prevent us from letting the word of God take root in our lives. When we are like the seed among thorns, we let other voices speak into our life which stymie the effect of the word of God, and so there is not the fruit that there could be.
Yet sometimes, we are that good soil. This is the soil which is not hard, or distracted by worry, other influences or troubles, but people who “hear the word, accept it.”
It this this openness to God, and trust which is characteristic of good soil, and essential to the life through which God does extraordinary things.