Parabolē it’s called in the Greek language, which clearly represents “a placing beside”, “to throw” or “to lay beside”. It suggests a placing of one thing beside another with a view to evaluate. It is generally used of somewhat lengthy utterance or narrative drawn from nature or human surroundings, the object of which is to set forth a spiritual lesson. It could sometimes be referred to as a proverb – a narrative or saying, dealing with earthly things with a spiritual meaning, is distinct from a fable, which gives different attributes to things that does not naturally belong to them.
The parables of Christ frequently conveys truths connected with the subject of the kingdom of God and Him withholding the meaning from his hearers as He did from the multitudes, was a divine judgment upon the unworthy; namely the religious leaders (Jews).
A particular danger of interpreting a parable is to assume a meaning to what the parable is not intended to convey. The important features of the parable must therefore be taken into consideration because they help in clarifying the meaning of the parable. Once we miss this, the parables would mean something else and will defeat the spiritual connotation and lessons that can be learnt. The one who tells a parable should also explain the meaning of the parable, that’s why you will find that the disciples of Jesus would go to Him most times to get the meaning of some of the parables He publicly spoke.
One of the most important if not the most important parable in the Bible is the parable of the Sower. It is thus called because it takes us through the process of when a seed is sown and the consequent harvest as a result of this in juxtaposition with the Kingdom of God. It is assumed in this parable that there is just one seed – it is the Word of God. We are not talking about a lookalike seed but the real seed, nothing more and nothing less. The Sower is another resource mentioned in this story; representing today’s Pastor, Bishop or Man of God. They are to make sure that whatever they are sowing is the right seed and not just another. Their duty is to sow the seed of God’s Word.
The reason for giving this parable is to highlight the kinds of soil that the seed falls on. The kinds of soil described here are the Wayside, the Stony or Rocky ground, the ground of Thorns and the Good ground. These are the different receptions we give to the hearing of God’s Word when it’s being disseminated. This is because many of us attend church services for different reasons and motives. Some of us concentrate on what God will give us, some are there for the miracles, and some are there to give with an expectation to also receive coupled with many other reasons known to us; yet not considering that without the right soil and environment, sowing a seed would become an exercise in futility.
Charles H Spurgeon said, “Husbandman, your Great Employer sent you out to sow the seed, but if no grain of it should ever come up, if you have sowed the seed as he told you, and where he told you, he will never lay the blame of a defective harvest to you”
The seed that fell on the wayside are those who have no understanding of God’s word, although they hear it, they cannot make anything of it. The fault here is not the Sower, not the Seed, but the person involved and the amount of attention given to the Word. The devil is represented by the birds of the air, which comes immediately to steal the seed because the hearer has not given much consideration to it. This clearly talks about those who attend church services for one thing or another and not the Word.
One of the seeds fell on a rock and sprout up but had limited depth, the sun came out and the plant was scorched. The ones that fall on the rock are those who also hear the Word with all joy and gladness, receive the Word and when the time for test came, they endured for sometime and later fell flat because they did not give due attention and consideration to the Word. The excitement and the over-hyped emotions were all present but the needful when it came to retaining the Word wasn’t there.
The ones in the midst of thorns ate the seeds that are expected to help them grow but because of the surrounding thorns, the growth of the plant is choked and hindered from bringing forth fruits. Again the harvest is aborted because of the thorns. The thorns from the explanation given by Jesus, represents the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches. They are those who attend church services but are pulled in various directions because of the challenges they are faced with. They are also pulled in varying directions because of the lust for false confidence in riches. In other words, it is the quest for that which gives a false impression whether by appearance, statement or influence of riches. This reminds me of the prosperity gospel used in luring people to church. They claim that God would give anyone who joins their group plenty of money and material things. It is lust excited by deceit: all manner of unscrupulous words and deeds designed to deceive. This is the present state of a Christian who is motivated by materialism and the pursuit for riches.
The seeds that fell on good grounds represent the good heart that hears and receives the Word. Not only do they receive the Word, they also cling unto it. That seed is like the person who hears the teaching and understands it by giving it due attention and consideration. This person has not come to the service with another kind of motive, other than the determination to listen and understand what is taught without any form of distraction, interference or interruption from any quarter. That person grows and produces fruit, sometimes a hundred times more, sometimes sixty times more, and sometimes thirty times more.” You want to be part of the progressives (God’s way)? Then form a habit of listening effectively to the Word of God when it is taught.
The more you give attention to the listening of God’s Word, the more the harvest was the conclusion. The parable makes us realize that listening attentively to the Word of God is of utmost importance. The more we listen, the more the spiritual knowledge gained and the less we listen, the less gained and the taking away of what we already have thus leaving us with nothing on the long run.
This is the reason why you cannot fail to notice and see the candle that is lit and put on the candle stand. The candle produces a clear vision to whosoever will want to find a path to walk on without stumbling. The candle is the Word of God correctly understood by its hearers. The Word of God when understood will bring forth of itself in multiple folds, nothing can stop it.