This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is God’s word. The seeds that fell on the footpath represent those who hear the message, only to have the devil come and take it away from their hearts and prevent them from believing and being saved. The seeds on the rocky soil represent those who hear the message and receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they believe for a while; then they fall away when they face temptation. The seeds that fell among the thorns represent those who hear the message, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the cares and riches and pleasures of this life. And so they never grow into maturity. And the seeds that fell on the good soil represent honest, good-hearted people who hear God’s word, cling to it, and patiently produce a huge harvest.
I did some superficial research before writing this devotion, and I found out that I have 356 friends on Facebook, I have 411 contacts in my phonebook on my iPhone, and I have sent 2,170 emails from my work computer since August. In my lifetime, I have held several jobs and have encountered thousands of people. Through it all though, I have one wife, four kids, and a few people who I consider close friends.
Consider all of your shallow or superficial relationships. Your cashier at Walmart, or the person you are behind while driving home. How about your mail carrier? All of these people have an impact on your life and attitudes, but in a very shallow way.
How do you know if you spend too much time worrying about things that are superficial? How would you react if the cashier at Walmart gave you the wrong change back? What if your mail-carrier brings you a cut-off notice from the electric company? What if the person in front of you while you were driving home was there because they cut you off on the highway?
Your reactions in these moments are telling. How life’s superficial relationships affect us lets us know how deep we truly are. The parable of the seeds perfectly addresses the superficial. When the spiritual seed is put on us, we can react in three different ways.
We can harden ourselves and not let the spiritual seed penetrate us. In this superficial, skin deep level, we are preventing spiritual seed from going beyond our surface.
In the next level, we allow the spiritual seed to penetrate parts of us. We work on making our spirit grow closer to God, but our hurts and hang-ups choke out what could be.
In the final level we soften our spirit and allow the spiritual seed of God, the Holy Spirit, to penetrate us deeply. We cultivate it, allow it to grow, and produce fruit. Then, when the superficial things come along, they are unable to affect us because we are rooted deeper than such shallow troubles can reach.
The parable in this scripture talks about the seed being salvation; salvation is more than a gift of heaven, we must open ourselves and receive the seed of salvation. God wants to save us not just from the fires of hell, but from the evil passions of this world as well.
Seek the Lord, accept the Holy Spirit, and allow God to go deep in your life.