The Parable of the Sower

Jim and I are continuing to read John Stott’s daily reflections: Through the Bible, through the year.

Today, our reading centered on the parable of the sower found in Luke 8:

“It is not difficult to imagine a first-century Palestinian farmer at seedtime. With a wicker basket balanced on his left hip, he walks up and down his field, scattering seed rhythmically with his strong right arm.

“To this parable Jesus added both his own explanation of it and his interpretative proverb: ‘He who has ears to hear, let him hear.’ For Jesus was describing his own teaching ministry as he broadcast the seed of the Word of God, and it was met with different receptions. Its enemies were the birds that ate it (the devil), the sun that scorched it (temptation and tribulation), and the thorns that choked it (wealth and worldliness). But the message of the parable does not end there. It follows a clear pattern. Four times we read that some seed fell, meaning (again four times) that four groups all heard the Word of God (v. 11). The basic question is what they did with it when they heard it. What reception did they give it?

“Some give the Word no reception at all. It never penetrates their defenses. They have a closed mind and a hard heart. They are extremely vulnerable to the devil. Others give the Word a shallow reception. True, they receive it with initial enthusiasm. For a short period they seem to be believers. But the seed never takes root; there is rock underneath their soil. Consequently, when the fierce glare of the sun (temptation and persecution) beats upon them, their spiritual life shrivels up.

“Others give the Word a mixed reception. They receive the Word, but they receive other things in profusion as well; they can’t discern between what is worldly and what is godly. They pride themselves on keeping an open mind — so open that they can keep nothing in it or out of it. In the end, business, pleasure, and wealth, like thorns, choke their spiritual life.

“Yet others give the Word a wholehearted reception. They hold it fast and persevere. They give it priority. They nourish it. And it bears fruit.”

Lord, let my reception of your Word be wholehearted! And as I nourish the seed, may You cause it to bear fruit.

To Your glory.

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