The Four Grounds

Gary Bird
Luke 8:5 A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it.

In Luke, Matthew, and Mark, we find that Jesus gives us a quick lesson on the heart of man when it comes to the Word of God. If you aren’t familiar with this parable, it’s about four different types of grounds. There is a hard ground, one filled with many stones, another filled with thorns, and lastly, a ground with good soil. Someone goes out and plants seeds on each ground:
The hard ground was not good for the seed, because the ground was too hard for the seed to be able to break through and take root. The seed was quickly devoured as the birds swooped in to eat it up. It was easily seen on the top of the soil.
The second ground did slightly better compared to the hard ground. The seed was able to make it into the ground, but the roots didn’t have much room to grow. The rocks overwhelmed the soil, and the seed was thus stunted in its ability to thrive.
The third ground looked promising, as the seed took root and a plant sprang up! Just as the plant looked like it might actually produce some fruit, the thorns that were surrounding it took over and choked the life from the budding plant.
The last ground with good soil was where success finally took place! The seed settled, took root, grew up, and was able to thrive. There was an abundance of fruit from the seeds that were planted in this soil.
This parable has a meaning which Jesus explains:
Seeds = Word of God
Birds = Satan
Hard Ground = Hard heart
Rocky Ground = A heart drawn away by temptation
Thorny Ground = A heart distracted by cares of this world and riches
Good Ground = Honest and good heart
Here’s the interesting part:
The hard ground obviously didn’t produce anything. Their heart had been beaten down under the foot of men, making it hard and useful for the world, but not useful for the Word of God. It was too hard to ever do anything with God’s Word and provided Satan the opportunity he needed to fly in and take up what God had for this life.
The rocky heart had a little root, but it eventually died out. The temptations of this world were too heavy on top of the seed for it to ever do anything, and it died out completely.
The seed in the thorny ground actually sticks around. But it couldn’t ever produce fruit. Life was too much of a distraction. Its mind was on money, vacations, and possessions. The plant lived, but there was no fruit because the thorns sucked all the life out of the plant.
The good ground produces the good fruit from the good seed. The ground wasn’t hard, the rocks had been moved out of the way, and the thorns were cut down for this soil to work. This ground was cared for and protected. This is what allowed for God’s Word to produce fruit in this good ground.
This parable does a wonderful job of reminding us where we stand and the obstacles we need to navigate in this life to do something for the Lord. Every human falls into one of these four categories! If you want to be the good ground, you need to allow the seed (the Word of God) to enter into your life.
This only happens by tending the ground of your heart. Read the Bible and listen to godly preaching. Take the time to protect your heart from the world walking all over you, which leads to a hard heart. Remove the heavy stones of temptation with God’s help. Cut back thorns of desires which will suck the life out of God’s plan for your life. If we can do this, we will be able to bear fruit for our Lord.

Gary Bird

Gary and his family are core members of our church. He assists with multiple minsitries. He and his wife Jessica have four children.

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