This post is one in a series of reflections for Lent. I invite you to go back and read the previous reflections.
Jesus starts this new chapter with the parable of the sower. A farm goes and spreads seed. Some of the seed lands on the path. Of course, the seed represents the gospel. The path is those people who have no interest at all in the things of God. The gospel is sowed into their lives, and before it can take root the devil snatches it away like the birds snatch the seed.
Some of the seed lands on the rocky soil. The plant shoots up immediately and then the heat of the sun wilts the plant. The plant is unable to set deep roots, because of the rocky soil. Because its roots are so shallow, it can not withstand the heat of the day. I think there is a head knowledge of the things of God, that can cause a person to take off in the faith. They are excited and zealous in the faith. However, when the newness and novelty of the faith wane, and the everyday seeps into their life, then they are not well founded. They have no roots. If they had that deep heart knowledge of God, they would be better able to deal with the everyday.
Still more of the seed lands among the thorns. The plants begin to grow, but they are choked out by the thorns. Some begin a walk of faith, but they are quickly choked out. Perhaps they are distracted by the stresses of life. Perhaps they are distracted by the lure of sin. They are choked out before they are able to bear fruit.
Some of the seed lands in good soil. It is able to set deep roots. It is able to avoid the birds and the thorns. The soil has the perfect balance of nutrients and moisture. It is the ideal location for the seed. This is those hearts that have been truly prepared for the word of God. It could be that the heart has been in each of the previous situation. It is important to note that the good soil has been prepared. It could take numerous different farmers to sow the word of God into a person's heart. The seed in the good soil is able to produce good fruit.
We may be working to sow the word of God into people's hearts, but the increase is all God. God prepares their hearts to receive the word. God then reveals himself to them. We are called to be faithful, and God will bring the increase.