I want to talk about four types of people who hear the Word. The reading of Mark 4:3-8.
Mark 4:3-8 New International Version (NIV)
3 “Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.”
Mark 4:15 New International Version (NIV)
15 Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them.
These represent those who are indifferent. They lack interest, enthusiasm, or concern, making them apathetic.
Mark 4:16-17 New International Version (NIV)
16 Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. 17 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.
These represent those with no discipleship and are prompted to seek salvation out of guilt.
Mark 4:18-19 New International Version (NIV)
18 Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.
These represent those who lust after the flesh, with their eyes and are full of pride.
Mark 4:20 New International Version (NIV)
20 Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.”
These are those who hear, accept, and do.
Jesus used parables often to help us understand heavenly things and always in a way that is not forced on us. This is an ingenious way to rouse our curiosity. I often forget that I often hear but not listen. This is the case when it comes to parables. With a parable you can hear, but not listen. The consequence of this is that they will be judged for what they refused to hear. They heard but refused.
The parable starts off with three who does not receive the word:
Along the Path
Visualize a path just wide enough to walk on. As you walk down this path day in and day out sowing your crop, this path proves to be hard indeed. The problem is the hardness of the path, not the seed or the sower. DO YOU KNOW ANYONE WHO JUST WILL NOT LISTEN? Along the path, the seed is actively taken by the birds. When we reject the Word of God, Satan will soon make it so that the Word is not around to bother us anymore.
I am sure we have all met some people who we’ve referred to as being shallow. The phrase comes from this passage. Here the ground represents people. Specifically, those who puts on a good ‘Christian front’. Christ becomes just a fad or a fashion statement. These are people who will find salvation in everything.
Amidst the Thorns
Some examples of thorns would be (worry, deceitfulness of wealth and desire). Worry is pretty self-explanatory. I’ve mentioned before that a little bit of worry is okay as long as our faith is greater than our worries. A blogger I follow put it this way, “Our faith in God is the bedrock of our lives. We can handle whatever life throws at us, as long as we are firmly grounded in our faith in God.”
When it comes to deceitfulness of wealth, here is my example: People with money tend to solve their problems with their wealth but God teaches them a lesson by arranging problems money can’t solve. This could be a diagnosis of an incurable health condition, a wrongful conviction, etc. The most important things in our lives are invaluable. You can’t put a price on the fruit of the spirit, of which, love is the greatest of all. God loved us so much that He gave us His son. All we have to do is believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior!
The worst of all thorns is desire. What are some of the things you desire for? Do any of them hold you back from desiring God? Make sure to examine yourself of this because as your desire for things increase, God soon decreases and fades away. In all this, the seed fails not because of the sower but because of the ground. Remember what the ground represented in this parable? It represented people. It is the sower’s wish that all might be saved.
Let me end this message paraphrasing a portion of John Hendershot article, Lessons on Mark. “Let us consider carefully what we hear. Whatever it is that we hear, this is what we repeat and soon what we repeat becomes who we are. Let’s select the important things in our lives. God will take our selection and use it as our measurement on judgement day. Are we harsh with others and easy with ourselves? God will be as easy with us as we are with others.”