The Parable of Casting Seeds

In the parable of the seeds and soils (Mark 4:3-20 see below), Jesus used a word picture to describe the different levels of receptivity people have toward God’s Word. He tells of a farmer broadcasting seed along the edge of a field. Some seeds fall on the hard-packed path beside the field; some fall on rocky ground that has little topsoil; some fall in the weeds; and some fall in fertile soil that offers a good environment for growth.

The various places they fall provide images of the human heart as it is confronted with God’s Word.

3 “Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seed.4 As he scattered it across his field, some of the seed fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate it.5 Another seed fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seed sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow.6 But the plant soon wilted under the hot sun, and since it didn’t have deep roots, it died.7 Another seed fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants so they produced no grain.8 Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they sprouted, grew, and produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”9 Then he said,”Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”

In verse 4, this is a person who hears the word but pays little attention. He has too much on his mind and just mumbles the words not letting them into his heart. He just doesn’t have the time for study.

Here we meet the Farmer who wants to sow everything, literally everything he has, so that his seed has a chance to grow. Yes it is a sloppy way, but it also generous. He not preconceiving who will be receptive and what won’t. He is allowing the land to make it’s own judgement at this point. Perhaps he does not have the time, perhaps he wants to get the most out of his seed and his plot…and then there are some who believe when you have seed in an alien land, it’s best to go with the scatter approach as you are unsure what will take & allow everything to be exposed to the seed.

You have to wonder why the Farmer would do this and not just cherry pick….well that would make the Farmer choosing what land will get the seed, i.e. the Word, and thus predestining some of his land to waste. Here the Farmer is allowing all of the land to have free will…perhaps with time that will change as seeds grow and multiply and look for new land…but now originally the Farmer is kind and generous and allowing all to partake.