Mark 4 – The Parable of the Sower.
In those days a farmer would have sown seed by walking along, carrying a bag of seed under his arm, and scattered it by throwing handfuls out into the field. Jesus refers to several places where the soil could land – the path, rocky places, thorns and good soil.
The path in a field is hardened and trodden down as people walk up and down it continually. The seeds that land on the path can’t grow, as they require softer, good soil. It doesn’t take long in life to feel that someone has walked on us, or circumstances have made us feel trodden down. Our hearts can become hardened when we allow these situations to affect us, the result being that the Word (represented by the seed) no longer has an impact on us.
As hard as the path is, it can become soft again, allowing the seed to then be planted and grow. In nature this happens through rain, which is a great picture of the Holy Spirit – who softens even the hardest of hearts, making them into good soil again for planting seed. Through the power of the Gospel we are able to have a softer heart.
Jesus gives us the example in Matthew 5:41 of going the extra mile. In those days if a Roman soldier wanted to they could force someone, by law, to carry their things for one mile. Otherwise they could legally kill them on the spot. Jesus said go two miles instead. In response to God’s love for us, allowing his Word to be a seed in our hearts, we can have the true freedom to choose to respond in love.
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