Contrary Mary, How Does Your Garden Grow? ~ blog
Jesus was typically surrounded by three types of people. There were the 12 disciples. There were others called “His followers” and there were the Pharisees. I would call those 3 types;
- Those who He had chosen as His main men.
- Those who were drawn to Him out of love for Him, free food and miraculous healing.
- Those who were threatened by Him because He had power and spoke with authority.
In Mark 4 the crowds are large because who wouldn’t like a free Big Mac, seeing miraculous healings, watching demons being cast out, and having the Pharisees getting slammed by the loving and gentle Jesus. If there was ever a variety show in those days, being with Jesus was the place to be.
So, Jesus starts to use parables when teaching the crowds. They are simple stories to entertain minds and sometimes a dagger gets slipped into the ribs of the listener without them even knowing it. Like the Parable of the Sower and the Four Soils.
My oh my … how this parable has so many bad interpretations. Some want to base their entire theology of salvation upon it and claim that the 2nd and 3rd soils are examples of Christians who have lost their salvation after they face rocks of temptations and the weeds of this world.
First, let me say that Jesus is not teaching everyone how to be saved. There was only one person who was saved in that crowd and that person was Jesus. This parable is about 4 things. The sower. The seed he is planting. The type of soil the seed falls into. And the results.
If you want to understand what the Bible teaches about salvation, then read the book of Romans. This parable is explaining that the condition of one’s heart is critical if what you are listening to will produce a valuable crop or not.
Some hear the Word of God and it makes no sense to them whatsoever because their hearts are hardened toward God. The message to them is foolish so no crop is ever produced. Others hear the Word and there is some interest, some soil, but their soil is rocky and so the roots cannot go deep enough and there is no moisture so the potential crop withers away from the heat of the sun.
Soil # 3 is not a well-worn path nor a field full of rocks. There is soil and there is moisture but there were already weeds in that place and they choke out the crop. There looks to be the promise of a crop, but it gets chocked by the worries and riches, and pleasures of this life and no fruit is produced.
So, we have 4 possibilities of; “What kind of soil is our heart?”
- Hardened heart and satan eats the seeds still lying on the path.
- Rocky heart producing a short-lived plant but no roots and plant dies.
- Weed filled soil that produces the plant but there is no fruit.
- Good soil with plants producing fruit 30, 60, and even a hundredfold.
The real issue here is NOT which soil is saved? It is for all to examine the condition of the soil in our heart and what kind of preparation needs to be done so that growth takes place. I could apply this line of reasoning to either just how to live one’s life regardless if they are saved or not.
Some people have anything but an open mind. They know what they know and anything else beyond that is met with suspicion. Just like old dogs, there is little room for new information and their minds are closed.
Some others have an open mind about some things. There is a little bit of soil where someone might plant a thought, but those times are few and far between and when they are pressed on the issue their lack of deeper knowledge fails them and they abandon the new thoughts.
Some are open to any and every idea that crosses their path. Sure, that sounds good so I will believe it … only to find that something else they already believed does not allow that new thought to co-exist so little time is spent cultivating the plant and thus no fruit.
Now the key question; “What kind of soil do you think the 12 disciples were?” And remember what happened after Jesus was captured. Every one of His 12 disciples scattered. Even Peter who so proudly stated that he would never leave Jesus denies Him 3 times when confronted by a little girl.
The issue here is not who is saved and who is not. It is a lesson meant for the disciples and us to examine our hearts. Are we open to having the Word of God take root in our lives? Are there weeds we need to pull and rocks we need to remove before God’s crop will multiply? Or do we just need to go to The Home Depot, rent their most powerful mulching machine and overturn every well-worn path of thoughts and habits that are keeping the seeds from taking root?
Every time we turn to sexual sin as an escape from the stress and pain in our lives, we are re-establishing a path that needs to be and remain destroyed. Every rock lobbed into our brain or weedy thought germinating in our mind needs to be addressed and destroyed.
“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
Any good farmer not only prepares his soil before planting but tends the garden as it is growing. Are you paying attention to and attending the thoughts in your head and heart?