The most important parable taught to all by Jesus, is the Parable of the sower and the seed. He declared the importance of this parable when His disciples came to Him for an explanation on the parable. He said to them that, if you don’t know this particular parable, how can you know all the other parables I am going to be talking to you about (paraphrased)?
In order to explain the meaning of this parable, we will be making some assumptions. We are going to assume that the Sower had the same seed as he sowed on the different grounds mentioned as Jesus expounded the parable to His disciples. We are also going to assume that the seed is the Word of God – as in the undiluted Word of God and that nothing was wrong with the seed. Finally, we are going to assume that the reason for germination or harvest was based on the various types of ground that the seeds fell on.
The grounds pointed to the many ways we attend to the Word of God when it is being disseminated. It is the modus operandi of the Kingdom of God. It is the way things work in this particular Kingdom. Progress in this Kingdom is hidden in the art of LISTENING. There is no other way this progress can come unless we master the art of listening to His Word.
In his words, Solomon opined that, “Dear friend, listen well to my words; tune your ears to my voice. Keep my message in plain view at all times. Concentrate! Learn it by heart! Those who discover these words live, really live; body and soul, they’re bursting with health. Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts”.
Listening is the act of attentively hearing and endeavoring to comprehend the meaning of the words spoken by another party through any media. It is the most important ingredient for building healthy relationships, strong leadership and also for organizations that would thrive today. It spells undivided attention to what is being spoken, said or taught.
This is exactly what Jesus was thinking about when He taught and explained this parable. He knew there wasn’t any problem with the Seed or the Sower else He would have mentioned it. He attacked the problem head-on. It had to be the grounds that the seeds fell upon. The grounds in the context of this parable pointed to the many believers who hear or give attention to the hearing or listening to God’s Word.
Why do people who listen to the same things, in the same environment and settings, having the same teacher, hearing the same voice at the same time come out and say different things. For some, it’s like they were never there and for some, it’s like they heard something else? Of course, there would be some that will articulate the exact sentiments of the teacher.
This is what happens when we come to Church to worship or listen to God’s Word. We are going to assume here that there is nothing wrong with the Sower of the Word – the Pastor or Teacher, although it’s the contrary today. We are also going to assume that there is also nothing wrong with the Seed – as in the Word preached or taught, although it’s the contrary for many today considering the invasion of false teaching as we have around us.
Our remit in this article is to focus on the many ways we listen to the Word of God because this is the fundamental principle of this parable – LISTENING.
Some of the seeds fell on the roadside and the birds of the air came to eat them up. This describes the HARD HEARTED Christian who has refused to be objective in listening rather remains subjective because they have already made up their minds when it comes to some certain issues in life. It is very difficult to get across to such minds and no matter what you say; their minds are already made up.
Like the Israelites and the disposition they had when they saw Jesus; the Bible pointed at their refusal to accept Him even though they were exposed to many prophecies from their well-respected Prophets. They attended to Him with a HARD HEART and He could do no mighty works amongst them, only very few sick people were healed.
Some of the seeds fell on rocky grounds. We are going to describe this as SHALLOW MINDED Christian. They receive the Word with gladness and joy but didn’t have any root in them. The Seeds appeared to germinate but when they were faced with challenges, they were offended and as a result they fell away.
These are the type of Christians who add emotions to the Word of God; they believe God must work for them even if many of their desires are outside of the Will of God. The moment they feel their prayers look like they are not answered, they become offended and people like this base their faith on the material things they have or don’t have. They move from Church to Church thinking the reason they don’t have is because the man of God is not “anointed”.
Some of the seeds also fell among thorns and ended up growing together with the thorns. The thorns would end up choking the harvest thus becoming unfruitful. This is the Christian with a DIVIDED HEART as he/she listens to God’s Word. They have many worries, problems and distractions in their lives. One of the many distractions mentioned in this parable is the deceitfulness of riches/wealth.
Many believe this is why they are in Church – to get answers to all their worries in life and so do not hear or give complete attention to the listening of God’s Word. The end result of this is that they become unfruitful when it comes to the Kingdom of God.
Without distractions, emotions and worries, the remaining seeds fell on good grounds and the harvest of thirty, sixty and hundred fold was the resultant effect of the depth of attention given to God’s Word.
Until we give complete attention to the listening of God’s Word, going to Church or attending to so many seminars becomes an exercise in futility – a waste of time. In organizations where they have meetings and only the CEO’s or Directors do the talking without listening to their employees (employees don’t feel they have been heard), all they get from such is a general lack of commitment, productivity and engagement.
It was Noel Jones who said that, “If Faith comes by hearing and by hearing of the Word of God, what happens when what you heard is not the Word of God?”
“When a congregation expects nothing, it generally finds nothing even in the best of Preachers; but when they are prepared to make much of what they hear, they usually get what they came for” – C.H Spurgeon.