Are Your Seeds Devoured?
The Parable of the Sower presents an unspoken question: Where are the seeds of God’s Word falling in my life? Am I a bird devouring the word, so it is not heard? Am I stony ground giving the word no depth of effect in my life, scorched by the cares of the world I let in? Am I thorns choking off the effect, so it yields no fruit? Or am I good ground where the word falls, takes root, grows deeply into my life, and has an effect that yields amazing fruit?
3“Listen to this! Behold, the sower went out to sow;
4and it came about that as he was sowing, some seed fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate it up.
5“And other seed fell on the rocky ground where it did not have much soil; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of soil.
6“And after the sun had risen, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away.
7“And other seed fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked it, and it yielded no crop.
8“And other seeds fell into the good soil and as they grew up and increased, they yielded a crop and produced thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.”
Mark 4:3–8, NASB)
"spreading seed" by Gardening Solutions is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.
Here’s an idea that just occurred to me. What if we are all those types of ground at once? What if we let the word in and vary the effect so we can be comfortable with our situation rather than consistent with what God thinks? This idea has condemning ramifications.
What if, depending on what I want, I allow God’s Holy Word to go into these places because all four exist within me at once?
I do not like what scripture tells me because it would force me to either admit something I find horrible about myself or the change required if I truly believed it is too dramatic. So, I let the birds devour the Word so I can go on as I am comfortable in my existence?
Someone connects with me and gives me a piece of God’s Word. I really like this person, want to impress them in some way, or even don’t want them to be offended because I don’t like conflict. So, I nod and smile, agree with them on what they say, and even tell them I’ll do or change the things we discussed. But, as soon as I am away from them, I move on with absolutely zero intentions of following through on anything discussed.
I hear the Word of God, and it is soul-crushingly convicting. It tells me things I absolutely agree with, need to change, and want to change about myself. However, those changes are hard. Those changes create difficulties in my life, putting me at odds with people whose opinions I care about but who are not Christians. Because there is too much hardship associated with the changes required to come into line with what I know God wants, and I feel I’ll miss out on too much enjoyment in life, I decide to either not make the changes or, worse, procrastinate until it is too late to make them.
The scripture studied presents things I’m mostly already doing, are simple to adjust, and do not require much effort, if any, on my part. Or, those things required of me I am good at, which allow me to show off my skills. These I can do very easily and with almost no effort, so they get implemented with almost no effect on my life.
In all cases above, things aren’t really changing much for me. In all cases above, God’s Word doesn’t truly have much of an impact. My life moves forward much as it has in the past, and because of that, there is little impact on the level of fruit I bear for God. This should trouble me, us, all of us. We should want to move closer to God, and we do, just as long as it doesn’t require much effort to accomplish.
15“He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
16“But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market places, who call out to the other children,
17and say, ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.’
18“For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon!’
19“The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax-gatherers and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.”
(Matthew 11:15–19, NASB)
The children of the world call out. The children of the world play their music for us to dance. Sometimes their words or music as us to rejoice. Other times their music or words want us to be sad. They get angry if we do not react properly to their entreaties. They fly into a rage if we do not seek their advice on what to do, ask their permission, or their forgiveness for our actions. Their desires shift on a whim, and it is nearly impossible to discern what they want, so we hang on their every word, action, and deed, parse it all, trying to stay out of trouble.
Yet, in all cases, the words and music of the children of the world have one goal: to drown out God’s Word. It is all a distraction. The children of the light turn from that light to hear what the other children have to say, but they do not speak about the light. Their music is pleasant for a time, but only as long as we are turned away from the light doing as they wish. Their wishes are not His wishes, and anyone who disagrees with them brings down their wrath upon themselves.
We should be more concerned about His love than their wrath. We should be more concerned about shooing away the birds of the air trying to devour and drown out His Word. We should be looking to shade the word from the scorching sun of the children of the world’s intentions. We should be uprooting the weeds and thorns, so the Word has room to grow. We should be more concerned about what God thinks of us than what the world thinks of us, but that means difficulty, hardship, and above all else, change. He who has ears, let him hear.
1The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel:
2To know wisdom and instruction, To discern the sayings of understanding,
3 To receive instruction in wise behavior, Righteousness, justice and equity;
4To give prudence to the naive, To the youth knowledge and discretion,
5 A wise man will hear and increase in learning, And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel,
6 To understand a proverb and a figure, The words of the wise and their riddles.
7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.
(Proverbs 1:1–7, NASB)