The Sower and the Seeds – Four Stages of Discipleship

Last week, as I continued to study the parables that Jesus taught, something new became clear for me in the Parable of the Sower. Usually, I have read this parable thinking about four different types of soil, by the road, rocky, thorny, and good or fruitful and I always wondered what kind of soil I was.

We know that in the end, each soil produces in a different manner, and it almost comes with a sense that there is nothing to be done. One thing is clear, the Sower represents God, and is the same for each different type of soil. The Seed represents the Word of God, and it is also the same for each type of soil. I finally realized that the soil is also the same; it represents each one of us in different stages of our walk with God (Luke 8:4-15; Matthew 13:1-23; Mark 4:1-20).

The first stage is when we receive the seed, but we are still the soil on the side of the road, we are still part of the world, its influences, pressures, and ways of thinking. We have the Word, but it gets trampled under foot and eaten by the birds of the air. The soil is not bad, all it needs is a little hedge of separation, and it needs a protection from the pressures of the road, the ways of this world (Romans 12:2).

The second stage represents the issues of the rocky soil; the rocks do not allow the soil to retain the moisture necessary for the growth of the plant. The soil is not bad, but we try to walk with God and at the same time hold on to other things that are important for us. Sometimes they are not bad things, but they take over the space that the plant needs for its growth, they do not allow the water to reach to the roots of the plant and allow it to thrive (Ezekiel 33:30-31).

In the third stage, the soil is good, the first steps were already taken, the hedge was built, the rocks removed, and the plant is growing. However, along with the Seed planted by the Sower, there are thorns growing that choke the plant, the Word of God in our lives. What do the thorns represent? As I kept reading and studying this, I thought about the things that God asks us to do in His Word, the things that we must get rid of, the things that we must weed out, uproot, and remove from our lives to be fruitful. I thought about memories, bitterness, anger, hatred, and lack of forgiveness as examples of thorns that choke the Word of God in our lives (Numbers 33:55).

The fourth stage does not represent a special type of soil; it represents a soil that has been prepared and kept by following the instruction given in the Scriptures. It has all of the elements it needs to be fruitful when it receives the seed of the Word. It is not enough to receive the Word; we have to walk in it by adding our faith and obedience, faith and obedience are like water and sunshine for the seed. For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard (Hebrews 4:2).