“as he was sowing, some seed fell . . .” Mark 4:4-8
There’s no getting around it, we are saved through faith, an unflinching, unwavering attachment to the person of Jesus Christ. It’s the essential condition of the Christian walk. What is the quality and depth of your faith? Faith is not a way of speaking or thinking, it’s a way of living. The parable of the sower shows that the productivity of the seed depends on whether it lands on good or bad soil. The reception of the word is directly related to the condition of the hearer’s heart. Jesus depicts four different groups of people exposed to the word of God.
First, there is the insensitive. They hear the word, but for them it’s meaningless; at most it hits the external ear and bounces off. The world of faith does not exist for this person and faith is an outdated concept.
Secondly, the superficial. They are open to everything, but nothing takes root. They are led by emotions. They might be up one day, and down the next. Don’t ask them to endure a tough season because they will quit before it begins. In times of testing they will disappear. Faith for this group is sacrifice free. They reject the idea that the cost of discipleship is high.
The third group is the defeated. They had principles that they wanted to live by, but they faced the stiff competition of the world and their love for God got swallowed up and strangled by the thorny preoccupations of career, romance, materialism and the opinions of others. Cut off from their first love, faith grew less and less, until it was no more.
Finally, the victorious. These are the seeds which fell on rich soil. Astonishingly, Jesus distinguishes three degrees of faith commitment of genuine hearers of the word. Thirty percenters are nice people who often find refuge in legalism and morality. The 60 percenters are committed to community projects and loving others but lack a passionate faith that burns with the fire of the spirit. Then, there are the 100 percenters, they hear the word and hear the call to faith in Jesus. They make the same confession as Christians in the early church, “Jesus is Lord” and are ruled by one desire – to know only Jesus. Jesus Christ is the most important person in their life. The 100%er doesn’t just agree with a set of doctrines, but has turned the rule of their life over to Jesus.
What kind of soil are you? In the farm analogy Jesus uses, dirt can’t change its character, but people can.