Day 14 – A story about four soils

Bible reading: Mark 4:3–9, 14–20

3 ‘Listen to me! A farmer went out to plant seeds in his field. 4 While he was throwing the seeds, some of them fell on the path. The birds came and they ate those seeds. 5 Other seeds fell on ground with rocks in it. There was not much soil in that place. The seeds quickly began to grow, because the soil was not deep. 6 But when the sun rose, it burned the young plants. They soon died because they had not grown down well into the soil. 7 Other seeds fell among thorn bushes. Those bushes grew up with the young plants. They stopped the seeds from growing into strong plants. So the plants could not make any new seeds. 8 But some seeds fell on good soil. Good strong plants grew from these seeds. Some plants made 30 new seeds. Some plants made 60 new seeds. And some plants made 100 new seeds.’

9 Then Jesus said, ‘You have ears, so listen well to what I say!’

4:9When a farmer planted seeds, he threw them on to the ground round him.

Mark 4:3-9 EasyEnglish Bible (EASY)

14 The seeds are like the message from God. The farmer is like a person who tells people about that message. 15 Some seeds fell on the path. That is like some people who listen to the message. But then Satan comes and he quickly takes the message away from their minds. 16 Some of the seeds fell on soil with rocks in it. This is also like some people who hear God's message. These people are happy to believe it for a time. 17 But they are like plants that have not grown down well into the soil. So they only believe for a short time. They may have problems. Or because they obey God's message, other people may do bad things to them. When that happens, these people soon stop believing. 18 Some seeds fell among thorn bushes. This is like some other people who hear God's message. 19 But they have many troubles in their minds. They think that more money and other valuable things will make them happy. So they do not let God's message change them. They are like plants that do not grow well and make new seeds. 20 But some seeds fell on good soil. This is like other people who listen to the message from God. They understand the message and they believe it. These people are like good plants that grow well. From one seed, some good plants make 30 new seeds. Other good plants make 60 new seeds, and some good plants make 100 new seeds.’

Mark 4:14-20 EasyEnglish Bible (EASY)

Reflection

In eighteenth century England, jealous religious leaders forced out of the churches the two great preachers of the day: John Wesley and George Whitefield. So they preached outside where they attracted enormous crowds.

That is what was happening to Jesus here. He leaves the synagogue to preach beside the lake. I have been to that area and seen the paths made flat by many feet, the plants that have died because there was no depth of earth, the grain hidden by weeds, along with some that was growing well.

By describing this great story of the four soils, which they could see around them, Jesus is doing two things. One, he is explaining the different reactions to his own work of bringing in God’s kingdom. Some, like the religious leaders, reject him. Some, like different people in the crowd, respond but then nothing continues. Others have too many things happening in their lives.

But some allow the message to affect their lives, and they develop into real leaders.

The second thing he is doing is putting a mirror in front of his hearers – and us. Do we let his message bounce off us like seeds bounce off a well-used path? Did we once respond to Jesus but the relationship never grew?

Have we allowed the life-giving seed of Jesus’ good news to be squeezed out by our work, our pleasures and our worries? Or is the combination of seed and soil, message and response, producing good fruit in our lives?