Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: “Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” (Matthew 13:3-9)
Children Are Like Seeds
Jesus spoke often in parables teaching the multitudes the principles of the kingdom gospel that would characterize the disciples of Christ. One of the more familiar parables is the story of the sower that sowed seed on different types of the ground resulting in varied kinds of harvest. On the first ground, the seed fell along the wayside but did not produce a crop as the hard was impenetrable and the birds quickly devoured the seeds. The second ground was receptive to the seed but was unable to maintain growth as there was little soil to nourish the seed to full growth. The seed that fell among the thorns had ample nourishment and grew very well but because of the weeds and thorns became choked out and unable to produce a crop of any significance. It was only the final ground that had been broken up from the impacted soil of the land and with great effort and hard work removed the stones, rocks, and hindrances of growth to allow the seed to produce a crop. Constant work continued with the care of the seed as the weeds and thorns were removed as the seed slowly grew into maturity and then finally a beautiful harvest of wheat stood ready as a field white for harvest. The joy of a bountiful crop did not come from the seed sown on the wayside. Seed thrown amongst the stony ground had some fruit but withered in time and died. Those seeds that found themselves in some good ground had every opportunity to grow but the thorns choked the seed and the crop was limited. The harvest came only when a diligent effort was put forth to guide the seed from the planting stage to the place of harvest. It could not survive on its own but required much effort and constant attention to help the seed develop into a bountiful harvest. Then and only then was the fruit enjoyed after much work and effort to train the seed to be what it was created to become. The farmer was not lucky to have a field ready for harvest. It took a lot of work, effort, toil, and sweat of brow to bring forth a harvest. And so it is with parenting.
Children are like the seed in the story of the sower. There are four types of children that come from four types of parents. Every child born has the potential to be something great in the eyes of his or her Creator. God has created the soul of a child to grow up to show forth His glory. Like the seed in the parable, the outcome will be determined by the kind of soil it finds itself. The soils can be viewed in the manner the parents take to training their children. Many parents have no concern for the eternal destiny of their children. Like the wayside soil, the word of God is heard by the hearts of the children but because there is no root in the soul of the child, the devil comes quickly and takes away the seed of the word of God. Many children find themselves with parents who have no concern for spiritual matters and live apart from a belief in God. Children of the wayside will find it hard to grow up knowing God. This does not condemn the child forever as many children who have grown up in the wayside path of the world come to know the power of God and the blood of Christ breaks up the hardened ground to open up the grace of the Lord in their hearts. Sadly, their parents did not train them and teach them. Children can be seen as the seed that fell on stony ground. This could easily be found in the lives of many of God’s people who are members of the church but rarely bring their children to worship, seldom engage in any Bible studies with their children and disregard the teachings of the preacher and admonitions of the elders. These children live on the edge of the church with no involvement growing up with little interest in the church and live shallow lives without God. Their parents seldom attend worship, seldom get involved in the work of the church and are offended if anyone challenges their lack of spiritual awareness but their children see clearly the lack of love for the Lord. Like the parents, they grow up with little or no interest and in time wither away and die.
The final two stories of seed are more prevalent in the church than any other. There are many parents who have a love for the Lord but cannot shake their love of the world and the trappings of popularity, social status and recreation. The ground is good but it is full of thorns, weeds, and hindrances to growth. When the seed is planted in this soil there is sufficient nourishment for the seed to grow but with the competition of the thorns is unable to grow to maturity. Jesus explained this soil as one that hears God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things, so no fruit is produced. There are many children who are like the seed sown in the thorny ground whose parents crowd their lives with the attractions of the world and choke out the heart of love for God and devotion to the kingdom of Christ. They never obey the gospel of Christ because their parents fill the ground of their hearts with the world. If they obey the gospel they never grow to maturity as the cares and riches of the world crowd out a heart of love for God. The final harvest is withered due to the overabundance of weeds and thorns. It is only in the good ground that has been broken up, stones and rocks removed and the constant care of keeping the thorns and weeds out will the seed grow to harvest. Parents must realize the heart of a child requires a diligent effort to break up the influences of the world to guide the spirit of the child to a love of God. Much of the heart of the child will come from the heart of the parent who shows in their own lives a diligent love for the Lord. Preparing the soil requires a lot of work. Removing the stones and rocks in the heart of the child is removing the hindrances of a child’s faith as they see the faith of the parent who does not forsake the worship of the Lord, spends many hours in examining the word of God and extends a benevolent hand to those in need. Children who grow up as faithful children of God do not come about by luck or chance. It takes hard work and diligent effort to constantly remove the thorns and weeds of the world from the heart of the child. They see the love of God in the heart of their parents. It is sad to witness parents who are more concerned about their children being the popular and successful student or athlete than a love for God. Parents who dress their children in the apparel of the world, encouraging them to engage in the social interactions of worldly popularity will not create a heart of spirituality. The good ground of faith comes from a lot of hard work and prayer. Parents who plant the word of God in the heart of their children will prepare the ground for a bountiful harvest of eternal reward. Children are like a seed. Parents will determine the type of soil their children are planted.