I was reading the parable Jesus told of scattering seeds. It's one I've read a lot of times, but I saw something different today.
Too many times I hear this parable explained wrong (at least I think so). If the seed is God's Message planted in people (which Jesus says it is) then that means all the seeds/soil are people who have at least heard the Gospel, I think they have at least accepted it. So the story is not about four random people who hear about Jesus and only the last one are Christians, all four would be people who at some point gave their life to Christ. The fourth one is the one producing fruit.
Looking at the four then, which one are we? Which one is the church? The first one was the Good News in someone's life, than satan comes and takes it away. If satan took it away, they wouldn't come to church, so that's not us.
The second soil is people who accept the Good News with great joy, but then give up after a short time because the teaching doesn't go deep into their lives. I think there are some people in the church like this, but it's not the majority. In our church at least, many people have been there many years. Maybe they have given up but still show up on Sunday?
Skip ahead. The last seed found good soil, planted roots, grew and produced fruit (it says 30, 60 and 100 times more than the seed). I think there are some people producing fruit in our church, but not many, and not like this. If each person in our church produced one fruit, our church would double, and that's not the case.
So that leaves option three. Mark 4 says the person in this area heard the teaching and accepted it. I think many people in our church are there. But it also says that they didn't go any further. The teaching doesn't grow, it doesn't produce fruit. Instead of focusing on the teaching or the gospel these people focus on the world and all the worries of it. So the third group would be people who believe in Jesus Christ but they aren't doing anything to grow and because of that no one is asking them about their faith and they aren't producing fruit. It's sad, but I think the church in general is at this stage.
But there is hope. As we will be talking about at the Winter Retreat, you can fix soil. You can work soil and add nutrients and make it better to grow food. It just takes work and time. The question is are we willing to make that investment...?