Jesus taught the parable of the soils on multiple occasions (also known as the parable of the sower) as recorded three times in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. (Yes, if you read the context, they’re not simply synoptic reprints – they are different events.) He concludes the teaching by inviting those with a thirst for God to pay heed by saying “Let him who has ears to hear, let him hear.” While this saying may be familiar to many, the intent is overlooked. Certainly all those in the audience physically had the appendage known as an ear. In fact, a pair of them. But Jesus points out that many who have ears don’t use them to listen to truth – they don’t listen to what is important. Are their hearts available or are they closed off? He asks his audience to pay attention, because their part in the Kingdom is at stake.
So what is so important to know? What is it that Jesus wants us to pay attention to, above the noise and distraction of the world?
First, God loves everyone, whether they love Him back or not, whether they even pay attention to Him. He’s bringing His Word to them and He is extravagant with His generosity. The sower scatters seed everywhere. Not just on this spot or that; these regions but not those areas. Every type of soil receives seed. Is that wasteful of God to preach His Gospel everywhere? Is it wasteful if Jesus died for the sins of people who would reject Him? For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son (John 3:16.) But while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8.)
Jesus wants us to know that He loves us regardless of whether we love Him back. Pure grace. An unqualified gift.
Second, people respond differently to God, and there are rewards and consequences of how we respond. The beautiful part of God’s love is that we must receive Christ’s sacrifice for us through grace, by faith. It’s not forced upon us, nor is obedience imprinted in our souls. There is only one type of soil that the Word will thrive in and bear fruit. So you actually play a part in determining what type of soil you are.
Jesus wants people to know that He loves them, He is available to them, and they need to respond to Him. Some won’t listen, some won’t respond. Some will receive Him and become mature and bear great fruit. Are you open to that? Do you have ears to hear?