I. The Highway
This post is a continuation of the previous post. Please read “The Seed, The Sower & The Soil – Introduction” first.
Mark 4:4 And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up.
The term “way side” means road. In other words, some fell on the highway. It was not a paved road, but a well-trodden path. It was such that there was no earth in which the seed could take root. The way side was so hard that the seed could not penetrate the hard crust. Listen to Jesus’ explanation.
Mark 4:15 And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts.
What is it that could possibly make a person’s heart as hard as a highway? I believe it happens when people walk through or over our lives. They are not willing to stay in our lives. They just are stepping into or on our lives to get somewhere else. They are using us.
When we open ourselves up to a friendship, and we find out that the other person has an ulterior motive for being our friend, we get hurt. We come to the realization that they had no interest in being close to us. When we open ourselves to love someone and they walk all over us, and treat us like dirt, and disregard our feelings, it hurts. Every time we get hurt, we harden our heart to protect ourselves from even more hurt.
We have no choice about people walking through our lives. That is a fact of life unless we shut ourselves off from society and become hermits. For that reason, it is a unavoidable part of life that we get hurt and we get hardened.
The problem is that it affects how we respond to God and His Word. When we are in an area where the seed is being sown, some of that seed may fall upon the hardened ground of our heart. Because of the hardness of our hearts, the enemy is able to steal that seed away. We can even feel the Spirit convicting and drawing us, and yet we resist out of hardness or stubbornness. We believe that we are protecting ourselves.
The truth is that we are disallowing the seed to take root in our hearts.
II. The Hard Way
Mark 4:5-6 And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth:
6But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away.
Every time I read this parable, I remember when I was in bible college. I was helping my roommate build a deck for someone in the area. In digging the holes for the corner posts, we encountered a problem. There was only a couple inches of dirt and then it was solid rock. I remember having to break up the rock and dig it out. That was the hardest post holes I have ever dug.
It takes a lot of work to have a lawn in areas like that and much more work to have a garden. When you plant the seed, it may sprout and appear to be doing well, but when the sun comes out, the sprouts will die. The roots are not deep enough to draw moisture from the ground. Listen to Jesus’ explanation.
Mark 4:16-17 And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness;
17And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended.
I love to see the joy on the face of a new convert. They have just experienced the joy of having their sins forgiven. The burden of sin has been lifted. The guilt and shame are gone. They finally know what it feels like to be completely loved. For the first time they are loved not because of anything they have done, or because they are good enough but loved unconditionally. They get up from the altar feeling like they will never have another problem. We all know that such in not the way life works even in the life of a the Christian. There’s an old song that says, “If I never had problem, I wouldn’t know that God could solve them. I’d never know what faith in God could do.”
It is such an important aspect of growing strong in God when we allow ourselves to be broken and remade. I have thought so many times when we would sing that song, “I Want To Do Thy Will, O Lord,” the chorus is quite a commitment. “Take me, break me, mold me and make me.” That is the kind of surrender it takes for the seed to be able to take root in us.
There are those who will not allow the Word of God to take root in their lives. They won’t allow it to change them even when they experience the joy and thrill of forgiveness. They won’t allow themselves to be broken by His Word and His Spirit. Then when trials come, they cannot stand the pressure. They wither and die. (To be continued…)