The Seed and the Soil

Getting Started

When Jesus stops and specifically says, “Listen,” it might be a good idea to pay attention! Yet, there are so many things that compete for our attention every moment of the day. No wonder we sometimes get tired or confused, weak, or lose focus. We only have so much time in our day and can only respond to so many messages at a time.

  • What are some of the distractions you know are currently clouding or choking your life?
  • Pray right now, and ask the Lord to reveal to you the unseen distractions in your life so that he can address them with you.

Read The Word:  Mark 4:1-20 (ESV)

1 Again he began to teach beside the sea. And a very large crowd gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat in it on the sea, and the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land. 2 And he was teaching them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them: 3 “Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. 5 Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. 6 And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. 8 And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” 9 And he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

10 And when he was alone, those around him with the twelve asked him about the parables. 11 And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables, 12 so that “they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand, 
lest they should turn and be forgiven.”

13 And he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? 14 The sower sows the word. 15 And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. 16 And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy. 17 And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away. 18 And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, 19 but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. 20 But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.”

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Digging Deeper:

  1. What were the four conditions in which the seeds were sown (vss. 3-9)? For each one who received the seed of Jesus’ words, what was their response (vss. 14-20)?
  2. Which of these four soil conditions most reflects your life today? Why?
  3. How do “the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things” choke out the Word in our lives?
  4. Specifically identify the things that have entered into your life and choked out the things of the Lord? What can be done to remove those things?

Respond To God:

The condition of our heart means everything in how the message of Christ affects our lives. Wouldn’t it be worth the effort to have our heart in good condition in order to receive a hundredfold return? It’s incredible that God has entrusted the message of his kingdom to us and allowed us to be his messengers!

  • Confess to the Lord any sin that is choking out the presence of Christ in your life.
  • Ask him to make your heart receptive to his Word (see Ps. 119:18, 34) and that it’s power in your life would bear fruit many times over.
  • Thank him for entrusting the message of his Word to you!