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The Parable of the Sower - Luke 8:5-8

by Russell Carnley
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Throughout much of His earthly ministry Jesus Christ spoke to the people in parables. A parable is a story designed to convey a spiritual truth in a meaningful and memorable way. As Jesus spoke His parables, the multitudes could not readily perceive the exact meaning, but they could remember what he had said. In remembering His words, they might meditate upon them, study the Scriptures, and come to the knowledge of the truth which Jesus had set forth. It is much like an illustration in a preachers sermon; the congregation will remember a pertinent story for much longer than most anything else in the message. The parables of Jesus are very powerful lessons for us today as we strive to live the life that God would have us to. The Parable of the Sower contains valuable lessons for both Christian and non-Christian alike. This parable might also be called the Parable of the Soils because the major emphasis of the parable is on the four different types of soil in which the seed is sown.

The Wayside Soil

"A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell by the wayside; and it was trampled down, and the birds of the air came devoured it" (Luke 8:5). This type of soil represents those who hear the word of God but do not understand it, nor do they give any attention to it. Because of the lack of understanding and their unwillingness to receive the things which are given to them, Satan comes and takes away the word from their heart, "lest they should believe and be saved" (Luke 8:12). Satan uses many devices and has many tricks to distract men from the heavenly goal. He knows that when people are ignorant they are much easier to deceive. Therefore he labors very diligently to remove all knowledge of God and of His word from our minds before it can take root.

The Stony Soil

"Some fell on rock; and as soon as it sprang up, it withered away because it lacked moisture" (Luke 8:6). This type of soil represents those who hear the word of God and when they hear it they receive it readily and joyfully. That is they accept the truth, obey it, and put it to practice for a time. These are merely fair weather Christians. They only serve God for a short time, until temptation or persecution comes, and then they fall away. As long as things are easy and pleasant they're right there, but when the problems start to appear, they're gone. What type of problems cause people to stumble? Work schedule changes make it difficult to attend worship services. Family troubles distract us from service to God. Sickness comes, and we drift away. We must realize that Satan is out to get us. He will do everything in his power to lead us astray. We must hold on to the salvation that has been given us, regardless of our problems.

The Thorny Soil

"Some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up with it and choked it" (Luke 8:7). The thorny soil represents those who receive the word of God and make an effort to live for Christ, but are hindered by the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches. These people are striving to straddle the fence that lies between Christ and the world. They lack the full commitment that Jesus expects of those who follow Him. They become so enamored with the opportunities for wealth and material things that they lose sight of the only true possession that is worth anything: their soul (Mark 8:36,37). Satan does not give up easily, nor does he turn away quickly. He pulls out all of the stops when it comes to the person who is striving to live a godly life. The world is attractive, but it is only temporary. "And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever," (I John 2:17).

The Good Soil

"But others fell on good ground, sprang up, and yielded a crop a hundredfold" (Luke8:8). This last type of soil is that which the sower had been looking for all along. This soil represents those who hear the word, receive it, and keep the things written therein with patience and perseverance. This Christian is steadfast in his service to God and unwavering in his commitment to the Almighty. Because of his patience and good works, he bears fruit for cause of Christ. Perhaps he takes time off from work to visit someone who is sick, or in need. Maybe he spends his evenings studying his Bible and preparing for Sunday morning Bible class. Perhaps he is evangelistic, spending his days speaking to others concerning the hope which lies within him (1 Pet. 3:15). His life is not free from problems. Satan certainly hasn't overlooked him. But this one does not let the affairs of this life discourage his efforts towards the next.
In this parable there are four different types of soil. The question is; what type are you? There are many good works one can engage in to the glory of God. And each person has different talents and abilities. The challenge is to put those talents to good use for the Master. Don't let Satan deceive you and rob you of the greatest blessing man has ever known: salvation from sin through Jesus Christ our Savior and redeemer.