13 Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? 14 The farmer sows the word. 15 Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. 16 Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. 17 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 18 Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. 20 Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.” Mark 4:13-20
Because we’ve read this passage multiple times, the meaning seems obvious to us. Why did the disciples need it explained to them? When you’re planting grass seed, how many do you plant, one for each blade you expect or do you just scatter them all? We scatter them because that’s the way grass grows. Some seeds will take root; others will not.
It’s different planting corn or watermelon or tomatoes. You wouldn’t want all the crops growing and crowding other similar crops out. So you have to be strategic about planting those vegetables. You place them exactly where you want it to grow and make sure the soil is good and the right type.
We often wonder if someone can be reached because you see the hardness of heart. But that person may need to hear 19 or 45 times before something “clicks,” and when it does, there’s no telling how that person will respond. Even under the best of circumstances we don’t know the hearts of the people we share Christ with or how many times before this time they’ve heard the truth. It could be time #9 or #921. The Holy Spirit bears the fruit. We just plant seeds and pray for root power (and fruit).