Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 28, 1964

Seed Upon Stony Places

Brooks C. Webb

Among the most impressive parables of Christ is that of the sower. We invite you to now consider with us that parable, and in particular the part concerning "Seed Upon Stony Places?'

Jesus said, "Behold, a sower went forth to sow; and when he sowed...some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had not deepness of earth: And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had not root, they withered away." The interpretation of this parable was given by the Lord. Concerning those on stony ground, Jesus said, The same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while; for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended." (see Matt. 13:3-20).

The seed sown is the "word of God," with no mixture of error, or without adulteration of any sort. The soil is the heart of the hearer. Once the seed is placed into the ground the sower can do no more. The work then is left to the soil — the intelligence and will of the individual hearer.

In Palestine most stone is limestone which rests just beneath a thin layer of soil. This stone draws and holds the heat, thus stimulates growth. But it is interesting to note that that which is an instrument in the rapid growth — alas! becomes an instrument of death! By and by the young plant bursts forth, full of promise. The plant appears to be vigorous and healthy. But soon the refreshing rains of spring cease and the withering rays of the ruler of the sky beat down mercilessly. The real test is on, and death is near ... all because of a lack of root, or depth.

This depicts many Christians of this day. They possess no stability. The gospel is preached to an individual, and he "anon with joy" receives it. He has a right to be joyful. He has the promise of eternal salvation along with many other spiritual blessings in Christ. But he fails to recognize that all who "live Godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." He has not considered that his new life is a life of battle, one of hardships and intense persecution. His emotions are touched, but his will and nature are not changed. He soon forgets he was "purged from his old sins." The seed must take root and grow deep — reach to every part of one's life, character, speech and action, and enable him to rightly divide the word and discern between truth and error. A Christian must be singular of mind and stable (Jas. 1:6-8). But the stony ground hearer is forced to sail with the wind and has not conviction. Courage and stability to stand against the forces of Satan do not characterize his life. An impulsive, emotional and unstable person may receive the seed and show signs of great promise, but his harvest will prove disappointing. As the sun withers the plant upon stony places, so does temptation with the unstable. We then see the importance of the Christian fleeing temptation rather than flirting with it.

The life giving rays of the sun would have enhanced the beauty and given health to the plant had it had proper depth. But in this parable it brings death. In the life of a Christian temptations make us stronger and give us more courage to overcome others. This is true, however, only if we have the proper rooting and grounding in the "faith once delivered."

This parable should teach us that present day tactics employed by some brethren are not only useless and unscriptural, but dangerous. Carnal natures are appealed to, folk are attracted by recreation and entertainment of a worldly nature. Perhaps even their emotions are touched, and they "anon with joy" "obey the gospel," when actually they are only "joining the church." Such persons fill the aisles during a great "revival," and glowing reports of a prosperous harvest are made. But the rains of Spring shall cease and the scorching rays of Summer are inevitable. When the "revival" has drawn to a close, and the religious fervor is abated, then the "babe in Christ" must face the realities of life with its many temptations, persecutions and attacks of the "wicked one." Let us teach the word — sow the seed of the kingdom. Then nurture converts on the sincere milk of the word that they may grow thereby, and become profitable in the vineyard of the Lord.

We must not fail to observe that the stability of the plant is given by that which is underground and thus unseen — the roots. We marvel at the beauty of the mighty oaks of the great forest. They have stability and firmness to withstand great storms, and no matter how hot grows the summer heat, they are affected little. Why? Because of the great network of roots which remain unseen to the eye, The Christian obtains his firmness and stability from that which is unseen by men. "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Heb. 11:1). But this faith in things unseen comes only from the word of God, not from speculation and sophistry of the wisdom of men, Thus the importance of the command to "study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Tine 2:15). The gospel preached to one who readily accepts it, but refuses to further his knowledge of the Bible is destined to become "seed upon stony places."

— 1102 N. Mound Street, Nacogdoches, Texas