If we do not understand the parable of the sower how do we expect to understand anything Jesus taught? That is essentially what Jesus asked the disciples in Mark 4:13. Here He tells a story about a sower (someone who seeds a field) but the focus of the story is not on the sower or the seed, instead it is on the different types of ground the seed falls on.
So why is this important to us today? Because we are the ground that God’s word falls on. And if want the word of God to transform our lives we need to cultivate good ground so that it can grow and bear fruit. Let’s take a look at the four types of ground in this story and learn some practical ways to “till the ground”.
The first type of ground we read about is the wayside ground. This is when someone “hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it (Mt 13:19).” We learn that when this happens Satan actually snatches away the word from our hearts. What we learn here is that understanding is a key ingredient in cultivating good ground. If the word goes in one ear and out the other then we may have just as well spent our time doing something else because it did not profit us at all. But if we can become people of understanding then Satan will not be able to steal the word from us. So how do we grow in understanding?
Proverbs 4:7 says that “in all your getting, get understanding.” So understanding is something that we can go out and get. Just like someone would go get a job in order to make money – we can also go get understanding so the word bears fruit in our lives. This is not something that we will get by being passive and just hoping to get it. It is not something that you are born with. It is not something you can get by having someone else get it for you. No, every person has to decide if they want to get understanding or not.
Once we’ve decided that understanding is something we want then we take action. We do this in a number of ways. We can take action by opening God’s word and asking the Holy Spirit to teach us. We take action by going back to the basics to insure we truly understand the first principles of God (Heb. 6). We can slow down and learn to meditate on the truth instead of rushing from one thing to the next.
Those are just a few ways of how we can grow in understanding but the how is not nearly as critical as the why. If we try to grow in understanding just because we think we should, we will not go far. But if we truly have a desire to do this we will find countless ways to increase in understanding. Personally it is tempting for me to learn the how to’s when it comes to stuff like this because following directions is easier than having a change of heart. But I’ve learned that God is more concerned with my heart then if I can follow directions or not. Let’s ask God to give us an understanding heart (1 King 3:9) and then we can have fun learning all the different how to’s.