As they went from town to town, a lot of people joined in and traveled along. He addressed them, using this story:
"A farmer went out to sow his seed. Some of it fell on the road; it was tramped down and the birds ate it.
Other seed fell in the gravel; it sprouted, but withered because it didn't have good roots.
Other seed fell in the weeds; the weeds grew with it and strangled it.
Other seed fell in rich earth and produced a bumper crop. "Are you listening to this? Really listening?"
His disciples asked, "Why did you tell this story?"
He said, "You've been given insight into God's kingdom - you know how it works. There are others who need stories. But even with stories some of them aren't going to get it: Their eyes are open but don't see a thing, Their ears are open but don't hear a thing.
"This story is about some of those people. The seed is the Word of God.
The seeds on the road are those who hear the Word, but no sooner do they hear it than the Devil snatches it from them so they won't believe and be saved.
"The seeds in the gravel are those who hear with enthusiasm, but the enthusiasm doesn't go very deep. It's only another fad, and the moment there's trouble it's gone.
"And the seed that fell in the weeds - well, these are the ones who hear, but then the seed is crowded out and nothing comes of it as they go about their lives worrying about tomorrow, making money, and having fun.
"But the seed in the good earth - these are the good-hearts who seize the Word and hold on no matter what, sticking with it until there's a harvest.
"No one lights a lamp and then covers it with a washtub or shoves it under the bed. No, you set it up on a lamp stand so those who enter the room can see their way.
We're not keeping secrets; we're telling them. We're not hiding things; we're bringing everything out into the open.
So be careful that you don't become misers of what you hear. Generosity begets generosity. Stinginess impoverishes."
His mother and brothers showed up but couldn't get through to him because of the crowd.
He was given the message, "Your mother and brothers are standing outside wanting to see you."
He replied, "My mother and brothers are the ones who hear and do God's Word. Obedience is thicker than blood."
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)