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Jesus describes four kinds of soils that measure how well a person hears the message of the Kingdom. The soils seem to represent the hearts and minds of people, each one measured by the receptivity of the seeds that have been sowed. Let’s check it out:
And He spoke many things to them in parables, saying, “Behold, the sower went out to sow; and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up. Others fell on the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil. But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out. And others fell on the good soil and yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear.” (Matthew 13:3-9)
Let’s examine the first soil—the soil beside the road. Jesus says, “Hear then the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road.” (Matthew 13:18-19)
The person with the heart like this soil is not ready to receive any seed. He’s not prepared for it, not looking for it, and seeds may seem out of place to him. So, he hears the word of the Kingdom and does not understand it. The term “understand” used by Jesus literally means to put it together. What they hear, they are not able to put it together in order to make sense to them or to motivate them to want to hear more.
Should we not plant any further seed in this soil? I think the answer is that we don’t know the soil or the heart of another person. The planting that is done is indiscriminate and totally random and widespread. Have you known anyone to be so hardened like the soil beside the road and then at a later date, become receptive? I see this all the time. Therefore, keep on planting the seed of the Good News of Jesus and the Kingdom. Keep on advancing the conversation. No conversion tactics or preaching; just conversation with loving compassion. Or, maybe you could do something really shocking, like loving them by listening to their interests and their needs without saying a word.