"The sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell beside the road, and it was trampled under foot and the birds of the air ate it up.
Those beside the road are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they will not believe and be saved. (Luke 8:5, 12 NASB)
Here begins the first soil-type. The sower went out to sow the seed (the Word of God), sowing as he went. In my mind's eye, I see a man with a big bag of seed, reaching in for handfuls and casting them out as he walks along the path. Some of the seed lands well away from the road, in the most fertile soil, but some of the seed falls along the roadside. Before the seed can find root, however, it is trampled by passersby and snatched up by the birds. None of the roadside seed lands in enough soil to grow easily.
Jesus explained to the crowd of disciples that this represented the people who heard the Word of God but never believed. They never believe, He said, because the devil steals it from their heart before they have time to consider it and accept the truth. A quick snatch and the chance is gone. Whispered suggestions to a seeking heart like, "Later" or "How out of style!" can be just enough to delay a decision indefinitely.
One might think the roadside seed was not important because plenty of other seed fell on good soil, but every seed is important because seed that takes root represents a life that is changed. The concerning thing about roadside seed is the proximity of their resting place to the sower. The seeds that land along the roadside are the seeds that land closest to the sower. How tragic to have those closest seeds snatched away!
Roadside seed can sprout and bear fruit, but only if it is protected and allowed to remain. Although not traditionally considered a parable about prayer, this parable suggests the absolute imperative of protecting the closest seed from the enemy of the sower. Protection from the wiles of the devil begins with steadfast prayer.
What kind of reception do the seeds of the Word of God find in our hearts? Are they easily snatched away? What about the hearts of those closest to us, our dearly loved ones?
Pray today that every seed will find a welcoming reception in fertile soil, especially the roadside seed in the hearts of those we love the most.
Link to last night's post: http://leannahollis.blogspot.com/2014/06/sharing-in-their-suffering-helping-in.html