Though it contains essential information for every human life, people approach the Bible very differently. Today's passage identifies four types of listeners:
• Closed mind. This does not exclusively describe unbelievers. Christians, too, can listen passively, without intending to apply what they hear. The seed can't germinate because the soil's surface is too hard. Such believers remain shallow until they decide to pay attention to God and obey.
• Clouded mind. Represented by rocky soil, the clouded mind will hear God's Word and get excited. But then the person doesn't take time to study, grow roots, and let the truth sink into his heart. With little doctrinal foundation or knowledge of God's promises, he has difficulty withstanding the harshness of life.
• Cluttered mind. The worries of life are to the Christian heart what briers, thorns, and thickets are to a garden. A preoccupied mind has little or no room for God's Word to sprout and thrive.
• Committed mind. God can do great things through someone whose mind is like fertile soil. The most intellectual person in the world, if not teachable, will miss the truth of the gospel, whereas even a young child who is willing to listen and learn will be transformed.
All of us would like to have the blessing described in today's reading-a huge return for what is sown. For that to be true of our life, we need to take an honest look to see if we approach biblical principles with a teachable Spirit. As Jesus said, "He who has ears, let him hear."