This morning I read the parable of the sower from Mark 4:1-20. I’ve written before about this parable, specifically on the three things Jesus illuminates as those which “choke the word, making it unfruitful.” As I read this morning, though, I was struck by a simple thing: Jesus gives us a three-phase process of discipleship in this compact story.
Jesus describes the fourth soil, the one that produces the abundance harvest, as those people who “hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop.” Hearing, receiving, and producing are the three phases Jesus seems to be illuminating here. But there are all kinds of ways we can interrupt and abort this process. That’s what the other soils are showing us.