Mark 4 opens with Jesus telling a parable. Most often this parable is called the parable of the “Sower,” however, the real action in this parable takes place in the soil.
At first the disciples don’t get it. They later ask Jesus what it means. Jesus responds that this was his plan… Those inside the Kingdom would know the meaning and those outside wouldn’t. Jesus had spoken this parable to a great crowd, but only a few wanted to really know what it meant. And this was exactly the meaning of the parable. I fear that many Sunday sermons in many churches are the same way. The pastor preaches, the word goes out just like the parable. Some hear, but their hardness of heart blocks them from really understanding the message perhaps they are bitter or angry and even though they receive the same “seed’ as everyone else Satan is able to immediately make sure that message is not understood or applied.
Others hear and are immediately excited about the implications of the message, but they are shallow and beneath the surface their is a hardness that won’t let the seed really take root. Satan doesn’t have to take this seed away their shallowness ensures that it will never come to anything.
The next group hears the word, and produce a plant, but at the same time other “weeds” are being cultivated in their life. These ones hear the word, practically understand it, but are unwilling to remove the competition from their lives. This is the rich young ruler who walked away from Jesus sorrowful because he had great possessions.
All of these soil/ heart types hear the same message, but it is obscured for various reasons. The word of God is unable to be cultivated because of the condition of the soil/ heart. So “they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear, but not understand, lest they should turn and be forgiven” (mark 4:12).
Those who actually receive the message without hardness, shallowness, or competition truly hear the word and run to Christ for forgiveness. They have a soil/ heart that produces fruit (evidence of the work of God in your life).
The point: are you actually hearing the word of God and letting have full effect in your life or are you dangerously hearing the word with no real fruit?
Take time today to examine your heart. What kind of response have you been giving to His word? Are you willing to confess a hard heart and ask God to break you? Will you confess shallowness, remove pride and ask God to take you deep? Will you take the idols in your life, the things that compete with with God’s word and remove them allowing God to truly reign in your life? Will you simply hear the word or will you truly seek to understand?