“Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: “Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear” (Matthew 13:3-9).
This parable of the sower focuses on the reception of the seed by each of the four kinds of soil. Here are the different kinds of soils:
- Wayside soil: The wayside hearers are those superficial hearers upon whom the truths of the gospel have no effect. They do not realize their personal need of the gospel. They are inattentive, they do not understand (v. 19).
- Stony places: The gospel seed that falls into the hearts of stony-ground hearers finds enough soil to germinate, but the soil is shallow and the effect of the gospel is superficial. The gospel affects only their feelings but does not touch their lives. The rock of selfishness prevents the gospel from experiencing a change of character. The only hope of stony-ground hearers is to be born again.
- The thorny ground: In this soil, the tender plants did not wither as rapidly as they did in the stony ground. Similarly, the experience of thorny-ground Christians moves further than that of the stony-ground hearers. They have a genuine start, and they experience the new birth. But they soon become “weary in well doing” (Gal. 6:9) and do not “go on unto perfection” (Heb. 6:1). The pleasures of life causes them to neglect to weed out from their lives the weaknesses that respond to sin.
- The good ground: This ground resembles those that respond to the callings of the Holy Spirit for “it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13). The “ground” is “good” because it yields to the truth. The fruit of the Spirit manifested in the outward life is the proof of the genuine Christian experience. The result is a life transformed according to the perfect life of Jesus Christ which continues faithfully to the end (Matt. 24:13).
In His service,