Are You Person 1, 2, 3, or 4?
by Tim West | February 13, 2018
Matthew 13 contains the parable of the sower. In verses 3-9, Jesus presents the story to the crowds who have followed him. In verses 18-23, He explains the meaning to his very interested and confused soon-to-be apostles. I know you’ve read it, but let me give you the text again here.
13:3 He told many stories in the form of parables, such as this one: “Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds. 4As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them. 5Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. 6But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots, they died. 7Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants. 8Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted! 9Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.” (NLT)
The text highlights four different kinds of people to whom the gospel is given and the results of the gospel in their lives.
Person 1: The Preoccupied. These are folks who have a chance to receive the eternal gift but because of their preoccupied state aren’t even aware a valuable gift has landed on them.
Person 2: The Pain-Intolerant. This gospel lands quickly and grows fast with this person. Unfortunately, painful life events, like persecution or tribulation, befalls them and scare the seed out of them.
Person 3: The Pleasure-Seeker. For this person, the gospel has grown enough to see it in contrast to the weeds that have also grown. Unfortunately, the need for comfort, wealth, and success “choke it.”
Person 4: The Producer. Here is the person offering the most to the kingdom. He/she hears the word, understands it, and as a result, their life bears much fruit.
Here is what I hear from this text as it applies to me. I believe myself to be Person 4. I’m striving to be Person 4. Other people generally think of me as Person 4. My middle name could be “Producer” since I’ve been able to make good things happen in my ministry. BUT, if I’m not careful, I can easily be lured into the challenges of Person 3. One part of the problem is my American value system; my society rewards and expects rewards for hard work. Another part is my background. Having grown up with little can make one want to have more later in life as some sort of delayed compensaion. Furthermore, “wealth” is more fun than poverty. I must continually fight Person 3 who lives in me so that I can always be Person 4.
What about you? Where do you find the struggles in life? Which of the above best describes you? It’s only as you own your reality that great strides can be made. Hit me up if you wanna talk about it.