In this post I would like to refresh our memories on what each of the elements or symbols of the parable represent and I would like to share some applications.
1. The symbols
The sower represents Yeshua (God).
The seed represents the Word of God.
The birds represent Satan.
The soils represent the type of people that hear the Word of God.
The soil by the wayside represents those who hear the Word, don't understand it, and then have the Word taken away by Satan.
The stony soil represents those who hear the Word, receive it joyfully, but don't have much root. Although they grow spiritually somewhat, the lack of root combined with tribulation and persecution due to the Word of God, they become offended.
The thorny soil represents those who hear the Word, but due to the care of this world and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the Word and they become unfruitful.
The good soil represents those who hear the Word of God, understand it, and bear fruit of varying amounts.
From this parable we see that God has an interest in mankind's knowing Him. He sent Yeshua to correctly establish the Word of God, its requirements, and how we can be saved. When Yeshua spread the gospel message He came in contact with various people who fell into the four categories we find in this parable. It is interesting to note that most of Yeshua's hearers did not understand His message. Some were unprepared and even though they listened, Satan stole it away before they could believe and be converted. Some of His hearers turned away when they met tribulation and persecution that resulted from committing to God. The life of a believer is not necessarily without danger and trouble. Some of His hearers understood the Word, but were concerned with worldly things more than the things of God. The care of this world could refer to things like poverty, fame, and power, anything that could cause a believer to lose his or her focus on God. The deceitfulness of riches refers to the striving for wealth where God no longer seems necessary because we think wealth can relieve us from our worries. Lastly, a small number of hearers understand the Word, repent, and put their trust in God. These people bear fruit of varying amounts. The fruit can be the changing of one's character as well as turning around and becoming sowers themselves.
It is in this regard that all believers also become sowers. We, too, will run into these four types of people. Only a small number will likely understand and accept the Word. We can't let this discourage us! After all Yeshua had the same issue! Most people need to hear the Word over several times before they are able to understand. Let's keep at it! Do not fall into the trap of teaching that a person's problems will be over, or that his or her life will be so much better, if he or she would only come to Yeshua. We then may cause these believers to fall away, because there will always be some tribulation or persecution that will follow belief. And whether or not we are Billy Grahams that aid in the salvation of many or we only successfully reach a few, God is not grading us on our level of productivity. We only need to be faithful!! We only need to be out there spreading the Word of God.
So what is this parable teaching us about the Kingdom of Heaven?
We hear the Word of God, repent and believe, and then we enter the Kingdom of Heaven. This then becomes our work. We emulate Yeshua and try to grow the Kingdom in much the same way that He did. Let's get to it!