I told my kids that Brussel sprouts were good. That nugget of information didn’t even make it past the surface before a little voice whispered to them that I was feeding them false information. Sometimes we are resistant to good things in life. Jesus illustrates this resistance in Mark 4:4 with an explanation in Mark 4:15:
Mark 4:4 As he scattered it across his field, some of the seed fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate it.
Mark 4:15 The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message, only to have Satan come at once and take it away.
Now, Jesus teaches us that the seed in this story is God’s Word. The seed is planted here on some very hard soil which represents and un-receptive or hard heart. For a seed to grow it must take root. If it is snatched up before it does this then it will not produce anything.
It was common during this time to have a walking path that would go right through your field. The farmer would plant seed on every area but the seed that fell on this hard path would sit on top of the ground until it was snatched up by the birds.
Some of us have opened up our hearts recklessly and been burned. As a result, our hearts have become hard towards others and even towards God. God’s Word is given to us but a little voice whispers that ‘we don’t need it’ or ‘we can’t trust it’. Just like my kids and the vegetables…a good thing is snatched up by the enemy of our souls.
As a follower of Jesus, we have the opportunity to plant the seed of God’s Word daily…both in others and in ourselves.
As we plant it in others we may find that it lands on hard soil. Should we not plant it? We should always plant God’s Word…we do not fully know the heart of another person. We are not able to see the cultivating work that God may be doing on the inside of a person.
As we plant it in our own heart (through study and prayer), we may also encounter some areas where we are resistant to receive the Word of truth. Even followers of Jesus can have parts of their heart that is harder than others. What do we do then? We get out the tiller, or the disc, and start plowing. Truly, this is a spiritual task that is accomplished by us allowing God into a once hard spot in our life.
What ‘hard soil’ do you have? Is it time to soften it up? Have you been resistant to the message of the Gospel - that God loves you and sent Jesus for you?