The Parable of the Sower:
That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.” Matthew 13:1-9 (NIV)
“Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” Matthew 13:18-23 (NIV)
Jesus used stories called parables to convey spiritual truths. The parable of the sower is one of those. It compares our hearts to soil, and the seeds as God’s Word, i.e the “message of the Kingdom.”
In today’s world the Good News of Jesus Christ and the message of salvation is falling upon these same four types of soil. We have many in America who claim no religious faith, and a growing number of atheist activists. The “soil” of their heart is like a hard packed path where seeds sown are unable to take root and are devoured by the enemy. America also has many whose hearts are infested with thorns due to all the enticements of this world. America also has many who do have hearts of “good soil” and are bearing fruit for the kingdom.
The one that struck me most is the one that fell on rocky soil. There are traditional churches by the thousands in our country. There are mega churches spreading across the fruited plains of our nation like mushrooms. Thousands are flocking to these houses of worship and making shallow professions of faith that have no depth and are no more able to bear fruit than a sack of aquarium gravel.
Why do I say this? In my lifetime I have watched our nation sink from being the greatest nation on earth, richly blessed by God, to a nation on the brink of bankruptcy and economic collapse. Our public schools now indoctrinate more than they educate. Our nation is filled with sexual deviants, drunks and substance abusers, “lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power.” (2 Timothy 3:2-5 NIV). And Verse 5 ends by saying “Have nothing to do with such people.” That is tough when it’s our houses of worship that are filled with these types, those who hearts are stonier than the lost and dying world around them.
In the Stephen King’s movie, Pet Sematary, the character Jud Crandall said “The soil of a man’s heart is stonier, Louis. A man grows what he can, and he tends it. ‘Cause what you buy, is what you own. And what you own… always comes home to you.” The problem with the “stony hearted” church member is what they do grow in their lives. And, as in the movie, it often is evil, sinister and in the end, deadly to themselves and their loved ones. What America is experiencing is that evil coming home.
We, as a nation, stand and support debauchery and perversion and call it “diversity.” We have slaughtered a generation in abortion mills. We believe the lie of evolution and mock those who believe the Genesis creation account. We now have those who claim to be Christians condoning homosexual marriage and trying to twist the Bible to deny that this is an abomination in the sight of God. Christians marry and divorce as much as the lost world does. We sit in front of our devices and worship at their alter more than the alter of God. We consume perversions online.
These are all signs of stony soil in our hearts. Galatians 6:7 is quite clear… “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows” (NIV). The true body of Christ has sat idly and quietly by while the enemy has waltzed right in and is taking our inalienable rights away. We are closer to experiencing the horrific violent attacks on Christians in America today than ever before. Open hostility and blatant blasphemy is becoming normalized. Christian business owners are being forced to violate their faith to endorse ungodly practices. Christians who dare call sin what it is, are now openly attacked in the media, and some threatened with violence or Legal Action. Good Examples of this are Dan Cathey (of Chik-Fil-A) and Phil Robertson (of Duck Dynasty). We are witnessing an invasion of our southern border by millions of illegal aliens (not immigrants but lawbreakers). Race baiting political figures go around inciting riots with their hate filled bigotry. Elected officials in government routinely violate their oath of office and fail to either obey or uphold the Constitution, many try to subvert it, from the White House down to the State House.
The Church today needs more preachers who believe and will “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” (2 Timothy 4:2). We need that stony soil plowed deep. We need more in the church cleaning their closets than coming out of them. One thing is certain. Harvest time is coming, and we will, as a nation, reap what has been sown. And like the old hymn “Softly and Tenderly” reminds us all… “Time is now fleeting, the moments are passing, passing from you and from me; shadows are gathering, death-beds are coming, coming for you and for me. As Robert Ripley said many times… Believe it or not.”
Carpe Diem my friends.