The parable of the Sower
The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the asea side. And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore. And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow; And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: Some fell upon astony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. And some fell among athorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: But other fell into good ground, and abrought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in aparables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the amysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. aFor whosoever hath, to him shall be bgiven, and he shall have more cabundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand (Matthew 13:1-13).
We outlined the parable in class. Essentially there are four types of soil, each bringing different results. The seed planted by the wayside is eaten by birds, the seed planted in the stony soil is scorched due to lack of depth, the thorny soil chokes the seed, and the good soil produces in varying degrees. Many students do not understand why Jesus shares how the good soil produced the way it did. They also wonder about what it all means. It is at this point where we read Jesus’ interpretation of the parable:
aHear ye therefore the parable of the sower. When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and aunderstandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and bcatcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. But he that received the seed into astony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when atribulation or bpersecution ariseth because of the word, by and by che is offended. He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this aworld, and the bdeceitfulness of criches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. But he that received seed into the good ground is he that aheareth the word, and bunderstandeth it; which also beareth cfruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty (Matthew 13:18-23).
As we diagrammed the parable on the board, the students began to see and understand that the different soil types represent the way people respond to His message. The seed is “the word of the kingdom” (verse 19). In other words, the seed doesn’t change – it is the word of God. This is a parable describing how we respond to the message of Jesus Christ. There are two teenage issues that are relevant to this parable that I have found resonate with young people.
The first idea is that we all contribute in different ways in building the kingdom of God. Not all of us are “hundred fold” producers right now. Those that are don’t need to look down upon those that are “thirty fold” people, as this is not a race. We are all on the path doing our best and are not in a competition with each other. There are also “hundred fold” callings in the Church that may require more time than “thirty fold” callings, yet each is essential. Every calling is important.
The second idea has to do with staying focused, regardless of the types of soil around us. There are times when we may get discouraged because it appears as if all the soil around us is stony or thorny. We can realize that just because there are times when we see stones and thorns in our lives, that doesn’t make the seed any less true. The seed isn’t on trial, we are. In the words of President Ezra Taft Benson:
We do not have to prove the Book of Mormon is true. The book is its own proof. All we need to do is read it and declare it. The Book of Mormon is not on trial – the people of the world, including the members of the Church, are on trial as to what they will do with this second witness for Christ. I testify that the Book of Mormon is the word of God; and therefore Jesus is the Christ, Joseph Smith is a prophet, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true, with its authorized servants to perform the ordinances of salvation today. 1
1. Ezra Taft Benson, A Witness and a Warning, p. 13.