Like you perhaps, I’ve read the parable of the sower many times. It’s also referred to as the Parable of the Soils. There were four soils, representing four different kinds of people who all heard the Word. This is recorded in three gospels: Matthew 13, Mark 4 and Luke 8.
Quick review…a farmer was throwing out seeds generously all around him. We suppose he was in a field. Some of the seed landed on hard paths alongside the field. Some landed on shallow soil with rocks under the soil. Some landed where there were thorn and weed seeds and some landed on the good soil that he was aiming for.
The birds ate the seeds that they could easily see laying on top of the path and the rest was trampled by people walking down the path. The seeds that landed on the rocky, thin soil had no root and no moisture, so when the sun came up, the seeds which had started to grow, died out.
The seeds landing on the ground where there was also thorn and weed seeds, was choked out by the faster-growing, bad seeds. The seeds landing on the good soil, grew and yielded a good, abundant crop. These four kinds of “soils” represent four kinds of hearts. Jesus explains this to the disciples, telling them if they don’t “get” this parable, they’ll not understand any of them.
So, here’s a summary…then an application to Step Up To Life.
The seed is the Word of God or the Word of the Kingdom.
The hard path = people with hard hearts who hear but don’t understand. Satan takes the seed from their hearts, so they will not believe and be saved.
The shallow soil = people who have no “depth” to their lives. They are shallow people with no deep roots, thoughts, convictions or beliefs. The soil of their hearts has not been prepared as rocks are there. The rocks allow no roots to do
go down and find moisture. When any kind of affliction, persecution or pressure comes, whatever was growing dies. It was temporary.
The weedy soil = people who hear the word but have thorns and thistles which represent items in their hearts such as worries, un-Godly wants/pleasures and desire for riches. These choke out the word and the end result is fruitless.
The good soil = people with good, honest hearts that have been prepared. They hear the word, accept it and hold it fast. The rocks and weeds have been cleared from the soil of their hearts, so the seed can come up in a healthy manner and be very productive.
NOTICE the process? A farmer knows that it takes time to prepare the soil. The hard ground must be broken up. The rocks must be cleared along with the weeds. IF the time isn’t put in cultivating the soil of people’s hearts, the seed of the word will produce nothing in the end.
Guiding a person through the five steps of Step Up To Life allows time to cultivate that soil and find out if there is depth of understanding. We can see how far along they are in “heart-preparation.” If we cut that short, their “decision” will only be temporary and produce nothing.
This parable is vitally important in understanding people. Through the questions asked by the SUTL-trained person, understanding comes to both the unconverted and to the one sharing. Take time to plow up hard ground and see if the person is willing to give up the rocks and thorns in their lives. If not, wait, pray and do more work with that person until the soil of their heart is truly ready to say, “100% YES,” to Jesus as Lord, Master and Savior.