“Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. And it happened, as he sowed, that some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds of the air came and devoured it.” Mark 4:3-4
Jesus has begun teaching in parables. Perhaps the most important thing to remember about parables is that the specific lesson or lessons being taught by the parable may in fact be the only truth presented. It is perfectly acceptable to present a story that is a complete fiction or fantasy to make your point. What’s important is the lesson.
In today’s focus text Jesus is using the work of a farmer planting in his field to teach about the spreading the word of God throughout the world. The soil the seed falls on is the hearer and the seed itself is the word of God.
As the word is proclaimed the first soil mentioned is the wayside or a path. This seed is then eaten by the birds. Jesus later explains that this seed and soil combination illustrates what happens sometimes when a witness is proclaimed. Sometimes before the listener can really take in what has been said to them Satan interferes and destroys any affect God’s word may have had that day.
It’s important to remember this when we join Christ in the work of witnessing. It’s not just us and the people we reach out to. Satan is there as well, ready to work whatever mischief he needs to to keep his victims where he has them. The phone might ring, pets might interrupt, children might suddenly need attention and before you know it the opportunity is lost, the message forgotten, and all the witness can do is wait to try again at another time.
Too many times we don’t take into account that we have an enemy that’s hard at work building his own kingdom, and seeking his own ends; in opposition to Christ. I’m not suggesting that we become spiritual conspiracy hunters, there are better ways to use our time. However, remembering that there is opposition helps to keep our expectations realistic. It also reminds us that in witnessing, like everything else, we always need to be relying upon the help of Jesus. Only then will we be effective. Only then will we be safe.