The Thief Comes To Steal (ATP)
Luke 8:12, Mark 4:15, and Matthew 13:19 explain seed fallen by the wayside. All three say the word was sown in their heart, and that the devil came to take it, snatch it away immediately. Matt 13:19 reads, “When anyone hears the word of the Kingdom and does not understand it,” the Amplified reads, “understand and grasp it.” What causes the inability to understand? Is it an intellectual or mental inability of the hearer if the word is being preached accurately as written?
Well, here is a question with a compound answer. Thank God the Bible is a book of principle given by precept and example. Although the Bible is absolutely truth, we have to remember that it is not just instruction, but instruction in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16). What’s the difference you might ask? Instruction is simply what to do whereas instruction in righteousness is how one is to be. Instruction in righteousness deals with the heart and not just obedience. You can be obedient, but with the wrong heart, and still not please God.
When we look at these passages concerning the “seed on the wayside,” we see an interesting concept in which satan is stealing the Word. The truth is, this happens in a variety of ways. Wayside literally means roadway. Whenever I see this in scripture I always think about the side of a country road. On the road we live on, in certain seasons you will see a variety of things growing on the side, things useful that you would even find in a garden, yet here they are unattended. Nobody is pruning, nobody is harvesting. These plants have the ability to produce, yet it always comes to nothing.
So this leads us to our answer, who’s fault is it, why is there no harvest? It could be found with the one who lost the seed to begin with. It could be because no one cared for it. It could be because no one harvests what is grown. See the reasons can be many but the problem is actually quite simple: this seed is just uncared for. Sometimes people sit in church distracted. Sometimes the preacher doesn’t care. Sometimes it’s because the person doesn’t take the time to know. We actually see these things, (not the failure of the preacher) even in Jesus’s ministry.
One example is found in John 6:61. “When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, ‘Does this offend you?’” They couldn’t handle the truth being taught and instead of trying to understand, they just got mad. I see this often in life. The Lord has shown me things for people, sometimes impossible things for them, but instead of embracing it, or seeking out the answer on how to do so, they just back off, full of offense. They go without, not because they can’t believe, but because they refuse to! They’ve been told all things are possible, yet they refuse to receive it.
God doesn’t want our ability to shine in life, so He isn’t leading us by what we can do. He desires that His glory be manifested in each life. The only way for that to happen is for Him to perform the miraculous in and around our inability. Wayside seed is simply seed that is not nurtured, it is uncared for. It is seed that has growth potential but because someone doesn’t take heed, it produces nothing.
We once had a couple in our church that, by their own admission, God supernaturally brought to us. Then after that, in the message I preached that week I spoke of things, personal things, not knowing why. Later I found out that it was exactly what they needed to hear. They got excited and filled with hope. They started coming, and listening and being part of what God was doing. However, the instruction they received was hard for them to hear, challenging them in ways they desired not to be challenged. I watched with sadness as they shriveled, eventually leaving the church. All the potential for a wonderful life, turned into valueless weeds and only because of neglect.
These scriptures are a warning to us, not to neglect or take for granted the Word God delivers to us. Embrace the truth because it is truth, or go without what only truth can bring. We have a duty to take care of the seed down in our lives. The Word is preached to be fruitful but uncared for, it does nothing. Satan will come and remove any trace to ensure believers fail. It’s not God’s will, but it happens all the time.