Summary: Parables for Seekers, Pt. 1
BLOOM WHERE YOU ARE PLANTED (LUKE 8:4-15)
Motivational writer Dennis Kimbro says that some people are like wheels - they don’t work unless they are pushed. Some people are like trailers - they have to be pulled. Some people are like kites - always up in the air, and if you don’t keep a string on them, they’ll fly away. Some people are like canoes - they have to be paddled. Some people are like blisters - they don’t show up until the work is done. Some people are like balloons - always puffed up and so full of themselves. Some people are like flat tires - they have to be jacked up and changed. Some people are like lights - always switching off and on.
Jesus said that people are more like soil. Someone suggested that the parable of the sower should be renamed the parable of the soil because the focus is on the soil or the hearer, and not on the sower. The two constant factors are the sower and the seed. The variable is the soil, or how we hear.
The four kinds of soil yield but three types of results: people who are futile ground and peddle empty promise, people who peddle false hope and have unfulfilled potential, and people who are fruitful soil and are prime prospects.
What is the difference between a believer, a seeker and an unbeliever? How are people correctly motivated to believe? Why are some people stifled, stagnant or stunted in belief?
Be Sincere in Seeking: Beware People Who are Futile Ground and Peddle Empty Promise
4 While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable: 5 “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. (Lk 8:4-5)
11 “This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. (Lk 8:11-12)
Three pastors got together for coffee one day and found all their churches had bat infestation troubles. “I got so mad,” said one, “I took a shot gun and fired at them. It made holes in the ceiling, but did nothing to the bats.”
“I tried trapping them alive,” said the second, “Then I drove 50 miles before releasing them, but they beat me back to the church.”
“I haven’t had any more problems,” said the third.
“What did you do?” asked the others, amazed.
“I simply baptized and confirmed them,” he replied. “I haven’t seen them since.”
The seeds that fell on the ground represent people who are futile ground and peddle empty promises. A lot of people gathered and crowded around Jesus, feeling good about Him and about themselves, even following Him from town to town. The crowd was impressed with Jesus, but he was not impressed by their attendance, their attention and their adulation because they were coming for the wrong reasons and with the wrong motivation.
This parable is also recorded in Matthew 13 and Mark 4, but Luke’s gospel uniquely emphasized that the seeds are trampled upon before the birds feed on them. Busy pedestrians, durable footwear and heavy traffic spell their doom. Their chance of survival is not barely or arguable, but none. The seed is crushed in no time. Fertilizer, water and tender loving care won’t help the seed that was on the ground or pavement. They become food for the wild in no time. If birds do not swoop down and gobble up, deer, mice and dogs would compete for scraps and complete the job.
A lot of people come to church for information but not intake. They are in-house but not in fellowship. These folks are continually seeking but not finding, interested, but not inspired. They do not comprehend the word of God, have no conviction in their heart and are not converted in their soul. Before they reach the point of belief, confession and salvation, the devil takes away the word from their heart. The devil does not tempt unbelievers more than believers, but the devil easily overpowers those with low aim, little interest and lame excuses.
The seeds on concrete floor have no sign of life, no chance to survive and no hope for cultivation. Even a small crack in the ground won’t help the seed’s growth. Vegetation, moss and wildflowers would be too happy to fill the space.
The devil does not want unbelievers to belong to Christ, to believe in Christ or to be like Christ. He wants them to have one foot in the door and the other outside, to listen with one ear and come out the other, to be present in body but absent in spirit.