"Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Other seed fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Let anyone with ears listen!" (Matthew 13:3-9 NRSV).
The first thing this familiar parable tells us is that Jesus was definitely not a farmer! No farmer would waste grain by scattering it as haphazardly as Jesus describes. But the image, however unrealistic, expresses an important spiritual point. The parable itself is found in three Gospels—Matthew, Mark and Luke. And in both Matthew and Luke, Jesus follows the parable by providing his own interpretation—telling his disciples what it means.
The seed is "the word of the kingdom" (Matthew 13:18)—the first small awareness of our creative Oneness with God that can grow into the new spiritual consciousness that Jesus refers to as 'the kingdom of heaven.' The essence of the seed is not just faith in God, but faith in ourselves as well—faith in our innate divinity seeking to express through our choices.
That spiritual seed will encounter much resistance from the world around us. We may simply ignore it amid the activity of our lives (seed that falls on the path). We may receive it, but become so distracted by earthly concerns that our spiritual seed is choked out (seed that falls among thorns). We may receive it enthusiastically but in a shallow way, more concerned with outer appearances than with inner Truth, and this is the seed that falls on shallow ground, springs up quickly but dies for lack of roots.
It is the seed that falls on good soil that puts down roots, grows slowly and produces an abundance of spiritual ideas and 'kingdom' consciousness. And we must always be that good soil. We can't affect the seed, but we can carefully nourish the soil of our own consciousness, keeping it healthy and receptive so that divine ideas will find a nurturing home there and grow abundantly.