by a farmer, his parable analyzed different responses to the message of the
kingdom (Matthew 13:1-23).
Jesus' story goes beyond being merely descriptive to also functioning as an
alert against danger. Accordingly, further insight can be gleaned if we step
into the typical thought processes behind the various behaviors Jesus
Consider the type of thoughts ricocheting around in the head of those who
hear the message but do not embrace it. Perhaps she is highly educated and
convinced in her own ability to accurately understand how life works.
Upon hearing about a Creator sending his Son to die that he might rise from
the dead creating a people for God and ruling over them, she thinks, "That's
just outdated superstition. I'm too sophisticated to fall for that!"
Maybe his life experiences had been rougher than normal. In a dog-eat-dog
world, there seemed to be no place for justice or a God who loves him. With
a wry smile he thought, "You expect me to believe in a God who loves me and
cares for me? Where has he been?"
These are some of the ways the hard packed soil might think.
Those whose hearts represent good soil, even if raised in a secular home,
are open-minded enough to consider, "I am going to check out whether or not
God's word is credible." Having examined the evidence and finding the claims
reasonable, this person reflects, "I need to respond to Jesus."
How might the rocky soil think? As a new Christian she quickly discovered
that her work environment not only frowned on Christians revealing their
beliefs, the company promoted immoral lifestyles and her boss encouraged
ethical practices contrary to her new life in Christ. She thought, "I had
better tone down this Christianity thing or I will hurt my chances at career
On the other hand, the good soil might muse in such an environment: "I am to
be an influence for God's kingdom in this potentially hostile world" or
perhaps, "While I value career advancement, I measure success by how I am
Thorny soil thinking seems to abound in America. Viewing the world as
resting solely upon one's own shoulders, this individual discovers in
unemployment, credit card debt, or numerous other difficulties the
opportunity to think, "I don't have time to worship this week."
Nevertheless, in the same situations the good soil remembers God's promises
of provision and care. Rather than withdrawing from God, the good soil
ponders: "I will rely upon God's promises." "God will get me through this
day by day." "What matters most is that I remain faithful to God."
Reflecting on some samples of divergent mindsets can provide us with a
barometer for measuring our own hearts. With what type of soil does our
thinking resonate? Who are we?
by Barry Newton