The Sower, The Seed & The Soil – Introduction
Mark 4:1-9 And he began again to teach by the sea side: and there was gathered unto him a great multitude, so that he entered into a ship, and sat in the sea; and the whole multitude was by the sea on the land.
And he taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine,
Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow:
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.
And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth:
But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away.
And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit.
And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred.
And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
I have read on occasion how modern farmers use technology and science to increase crop yields. They send soil samples to the local coop or state agriculture department for analysis. They are trying to discover if there is anything they can do to make their land more productive.
I want to talk about the Sower, the Seed and the Soil. The Lord started dealing with me concerning this parable. I know it is well known and much used in messages and lessons. But there are some things in this parable at which I think we need to take a closer look. I believe that this parable is the Master’s analysis of the soil of men’s hearts.
Notice how this account begins. Jesus was teaching a multitude that was growing in number. In order to be heard, He boards a boat and casts out just a short distance from the shore. Of course, the creator would know that such a setting would make a natural amphitheatre with the water being the stage and the crowd on the shore would be able to hear His voice and His words.
When He starts this parable, He calls out to the crowd to get their attention. “Hearken….” In other words, He was telling them, “Quiet down, please…I have something important to say. There is a lesson that I need to teach you…”
And when He begins the story, it is with a simple statement, “Behold, there went out a sower to sow:” That stands to reason because that’s what sower’s do – they sow. And while it would be easy to take this parable and say that the sower is a preacher so preachers need to be sowing, there is no basis for that assumption in this parable.
I believe that the minister is a sower but sowing is not limited to ministers. The seamstress and the barber and the teacher are all sowers. The gas station attendant and the electrician and the student are all sowers. The landscaper and the coal miner and (put your occupation in the blank) are all sowers. All Christians are sowers. We should be sowing everyday and everywhere.
Most people will know what I mean when I mention a broadcast spreader. I’ve seen them used to sow grass seed on several occasions. I have seen some that attach to a lawn tractor and some that are on wheels with a handle to pull behind you. The one that I’m the most familiar with straps onto the sower. As the sower walks around the place where he wants to sow the seed, he turns a crank to throw the seed out of the spreader which broadcasts the seed – spreads it far and wide.
Sowing grass seed is not an exact science. You don’t plant the seeds a certain distance apart and you don’t have to cover the seeds up with dirt. It’s also true that when you use a broadcast spreader, you don’t have perfect control of the seed. Some is going to end up on the sidewalk, some on the driveway, some on the street, etc. So are you getting the picture in your mind?
When Jesus started expounding on the meaning of this parable, He said this short but very important and profound statement…
Mark 4:14 The sower soweth the word.
I believe we ought to broadcast the seed of God’s Word. We need to sow the seed of His Word at work and at school. We need to sow the seed of His Word when we are shopping or travelling. We need to sow the seed of His Word everywhere we go.
So we all are sowers, and we should be sowing the seed of God’s Word. That brings us to the soil. Jesus mentioned 4 different types of soil in this parable. All of them received some of the seed that was sown, but not all of them had the same results. (to be continued)