SOME DON'T MAKE IT
Jesus loved telling stories. He would take ordinary situations that people faced and turn them into illustrations (“parables”) of how God works. He told lots of stories about farming because many of the people were farmers and they would understand what he was saying. We are looking at a farming story today – about a farmer sowing his crop by hand. You would think that Jesus told stories to help people understand what he was saying, but it was mainly the opposite. He mostly told stories so that only those who were interested in God and really thought about it would get it. He wasn’t looking for shallow followers. In most of the stories Jesus told, we have to think about and interpret for ourselves, but in today’s story, Jesus tells his disciples the meaning, so it’s crystal clear for us. Jesus is saying that some of his followers won’t make it.
Read: Luke 8:4-15
1. What is God saying to me? Which verse is most significant?
2. What would I like to discuss/explore further?
3. What do I need to do?
4. What are the main reasons for people dropping out of the Christian faith?
It seems that Jesus is saying that there are at least three common circumstances in which people will walk away from Jesus.
For some, it’s when they first hear the good news about Jesus – they’re like the “path.” Maybe they never really get it or maybe it sounds too costly, but they walk away from Jesus before it sinks in. They never give Jesus a chance. Satan just whips the good news away and that’s it. You probably have friends like that. They don’t really have any interest in Jesus. Keep loving and praying for them (soil can change), but don’t beat yourself up over it. They cannot hear at the moment. That’s not your fault.
The rocky soil people love the good news about Jesus and get really excited about it. They grow quickly and it looks like they will be following Jesus forever. But the faith that develops so quickly dies just as quickly. When they face testing and following Jesus becomes a challenge, they drop out. They want all the benefits of being a Christian but won’t accept the cost. They look for something easier.
The thorny soil people last longer. The seed takes root and begins to grow, but gradually the weeds begin to sprout as well. (As Jesus points out, the weeds are both our worries and pleasures – our disappointments and our successes - anything that takes our attention away from Jesus.) Gradually their life with Jesus gets strangled and they fade away. They’re just not following anymore.
So sadly, some people don’t make it. Lots of the big crowd following Jesus at this point were not there two years later at the end. As Jesus predicted, the growing seed just withered away. You need to be aware of this. Satan will put pressure on you. He hates your trust in Jesus and wants to strangle your faith. It could be through disappointments or worries or successes or hurt or failure. You can be sure he’ll try.
But there is a lot of good soil that produces an incredible spiritual harvest. Note that Jesus doesn’t describe these people as superstars but as having “noble and good hearts.” Ordinary Christians who persevere to the end. They’re the ones through whom God produces a great crop. Jesus is calling you to be one of them.
Lord thanks for treating me with grace. I want you to know that I’m following you all the way. I know there will be disappointments and testing and difficulties and challenges and temptations. But I’m good soil, and I’m not going to wither or get strangled. Please help me to follow you to the end.
What would most likely cause you to abandon Jesus? Pray for God’s protection.