Reaping What You Sow (Matthew 13:1–9)
In this haunting parable, Jesus depicts four different groups of people exposed to the Word of God. First come the insensitive. They hear the Word, but it does not speak to them interiorly. The unseen world does not exist for the thinking man. The tales of the Bible are nice for children but not for mature adults. Faith is an outdated conception for those behind the times, a relic of the Middle Ages. After all, you can’t pay the rent with religion . . .
Next, Jesus describes the superficial.
These are the open people—too much so. They are ready to receive everything, but nothing takes root. You meet them at every level of the church’s life, exponents of change for the sake of change. Ardent champions of renewal and reform with a lusty contempt for anything written before 1963. These are the butterfly types who sip on a thousand different blossom cups . . .
The third group are the defeated. They may have fought long and struggled honorably for their faith. They had principles they wanted to live by. A Christian ethic was presumed, a week without worship unthinkable. Their high ideals, however, ran into competition from “the real world.” Love of God got swallowed up in mundane concerns. The thorny preoccupations are many—career, romance, military induction, geographical displacement, progeny, security . . .
Finally, Jesus speaks of the victorious—the seeds that fell on rich soil. But even here Jesus distinguishes three levels of productivity for the kingdom, three different degrees of faith commitment among genuine hearers of the Word of God.
Taken from NIV Ragamuffin Bible