Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up … 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.
- Mark 4:3-4, 15
Large fields are often crisscrossed with paths. Deer and wild animals pack the earth on their way to a local watering hole. People taking shortcuts carve paths through the grass and the grain. Traffic and time, that’s all it takes.
Paths are hard places for seeds. The earth gets packed too firmly for the seed to get into the soil. Other vegetation provides no cover. And the birds circle overhead.
The soil on the path has not been prepared to receive the seed.
Jesus teaches that this is also the case when it comes to the word of God: some people just aren’t ready for it. As soon as the word lands on the soil of their hearts, an enemy comes and snatches it away. There are forces in this world that want nothing more than to peck up every word-of-God-seed that’s scattered in the world.
What can we do if we believe this to be true? What can we do for ourselves and for those who we love?
For ourselves, we can cultivate a heart that’s attentive to God’s word. We can pray before we read the Bible, asking God to make us receptive. We can create reflective space every week to meditate on what we’ve experienced with God so that we actually receive God’s word to us. We can ask God for his protection.
For those we love, praying for God’s protection would be wise, ask him to scare the seed-stealing birds away. We can also ask the Lord to help us find ways to soften the hearts of those we love, maybe through prayer, an act of kindness, a wise word, or even a thoughtful argument.
What is the Lord inviting you to do today?