It’s no secret that Jesus did much of his teaching in the form of parables. A parable is a fictional story with a spiritual lesson. And, typically, when Jesus told a parable, he didn’t explicitly tell the exact meaning of the parable. It was up to the listener to decipher what it meant. In fact, as we read in Luke 8:10, Jesus told his disciples that was sort of the reason he taught so much in parables. It was one of the ways to tell if someone was really interested in the things of God. If they understood the parable, or if they were curious enough to try to find the meaning of the parable, that was an indicator of someone trying to take a next step in their faith. But for those who would hear parables and not really try to understand them, well, that was an indicator they may not be interested in what Jesus was trying to tell them about God. And to illustrate that point, he told them a parable. So yes, he told a parable to explain why he told parables!
In this particular parable (also in Luke 8), we hear about a farmer who sowed (or planted) seeds in several different places. He accidentally dropped some of the seeds on his walking path and the birds ate them. Some others got dropped among rocks and thorn bushes, and a few sprouts grew but died pretty quickly. Some got placed into good soil. As you can guess, the seeds that ended up in the good soil yielded a way better crop than the seeds that landed in the other places. In each situation, the seed was the same. It was the environment that made all the difference.
The disciples asked him what all that meant, and he told them: “The seed is the Word of God, or the message of God—something to point people toward God. And there are times when that message doesn’t really take root in someone’s life, but sometimes it does. And when it does, there’s growth—not just immediate growth, but sustained growth. There’s long-term change.”
Maybe you can relate to what he was talking about in that parable. Perhaps you remember a season when your faith was a big part of your life. But now, if you’re honest, maybe it’s not. And just like some of those seeds were trampled and eaten by birds or fell into rocks or thorns, obstacles got in the way of your relationship with God being a bigger part of your life. If that’s the case, what’s that obstacle? What would it look like to remove it? Is it still even there? What would it take for you to dig into that good soil and see real, life-changing growth?
“Heavenly Father, give me the desire and strength to know you more. I want my faith in you and my love for those around me to grow for the rest of my life. Amen.”
Before the next session, read Luke Chapter 9.
When Jesus told a parable, he usually didn’t explicitly tell the meaning of the parable. But in one parable about seeds, he did just that.