Parable of the Seed/Soils - Feb 10
Of all the parables, the one that opens the series of kingdom parables is the parable of the Seed, better called the parable of the soils. The major point I want to make about this passage is that it lists the obstacles to responding to the Word that ought to be avoided. So attachment to this world or persecution can become an obstacle to receiving the Word. Those are the major obstacles. Beyond this, it takes a patient and persevering heart to make "good" soil. The other thing to observe about this parable is that only one soil is viewed positively. All the others are tragic in that the seed does not reach its intended goal when planted. I tell my students to first work with the imagery and then do the theological analysis. In this case, this means that only one soil is in a commended position. The faith of the other soils in all likelihood should be seen as inadequate. A final observation is that the parable is not about where we are at a particular moment. Rather it is a resume or career parable, covering a person's spiritual life as a whole. Jesus is describing what happens to the word here, but there is an implied exhortation to be the fourth soil. Receive the Word with a patient, believing, persevering heart and growth and fruit (the goal of planting seed) will come.