Kristen let Maria know that with prayer and God’s Word their students’ hearts could become good ground.

Sunlight streamed across the table where two Sunday school teachers were just finishing lunch. A discussion was in progress about their classes of junior girls.

“Kristen, you’ve been teaching for a long time now. I’ve been wanting to talk to you about my girls. Isn’t it something how differently kids respond to the lessons? Ever since I started teaching a few months ago I’ve felt so good about my class. They’re good kids and I love them all, but some of them seem to find it difficult to understand that Jesus can, and wants to, meet every need of their lives.

“Of my four students,” she went on, “one really lights up when we start class. It is easy to see her interest. But the others . . . I don’t know. They must like something about Sunday school or they wouldn’t come. I wonder, though, if I am getting through to them that Jesus really is the answer to all their problems—a Friend who never fails.

“For instance, Samantha lets the lessons go in one ear and out the other. She can’t seem to understand that Jesus really did die for her, as well as everyone else.

“Amber was so quickly attracted to the Gospel and received the Lord with such gladness. But in just these past few weeks I’ve seen her change again. She has met with some rejection at school and is now questioning why Christians don’t do some of the things she enjoyed in the past. She’s forgotten how the desire for these things was taken away. She had such a happy attitude at first. It hurts to see her change.

“Then there is Annie. What a girl! She is always fretting. I’ve tried to tell her that when she gave her heart to God, He promised to provide those things she truly needs, and for her to take her worries and cares to Him. Yet week after week she recites some new problem. ‘I need a new dress. How will I get it? My folks expect too much of me . . . I need a bigger allowance . . .’ Each week it’s something new!

“Christie is my fourth girl, and a joy to have in class. She seems to get the point of the lessons and to understand what the Gospel is all about. It is easy to see her sincere love for Christ, and she is always ready to lend a hand. I’ve seen her really grow spiritually in just these few short months she has been in my class.”

Kristen smiled. “Maria, your class sure seems to be a good example of the lesson Jesus taught of the sower and the seed. Let’s say that you are the sower of the seed. The seed is, of course, the Word of God.

“Samantha sounds like the ‘wayside’ hearer. Some seed falls on a hard-beaten path where no plow has broken up the ground. As a careless and inattentive listener, she will find that Satan is fast removing anything she may hear.

“Amber’s heart could be compared to the ‘stony ground,’ a thin surface of earth with rock at the bottom. The seed can’t put down any roots deep enough to nourish the plant so it can keep growing. She is affected by the beauty of the Gospel, but when any persecution or hard place comes, she runs. She can’t accept the fact that there is a cross to bear if we would gain a crown.

“Annie would fall into the third category. The earth had been plowed and the seed sown but the weeds weren’t destroyed. These ‘weeds’ are the cares of this life, or the world, that choke out the truth of the Word of God in her life. They are drawing her mind and heart in different ways when both should be focused on Jesus.

“Without a doubt, Christie represents the ‘good ground’ hearer. When the field is well plowed and the weeds all removed, the seed takes root and bears an abundant crop. Christie’s heart is receptive, and that spiritual growth you spoke of would be her fruitfulness.

“Remember, Maria, you are helping to ‘plow the fields’ of these girls’ hearts. You are sowing the seed! If you are faithful in your work, Jesus will help you. You say you love these girls, but remember, Jesus loves them even more. Your faithfulness to these girls is part of the plowing and can’t fail to have its effect. But the rest is up to the girls themselves. They must decide what type of ground they will furnish for the good seed to grow in.”

As the two friends prepared to leave, the sunshine seemed to be reflected again in Maria’s smile. “Thanks, Kristen. I can always depend on you for just the right words. I will go to my class tomorrow with even more determination to keep ‘sowing the seed.’ Just keep praying that all those who hear God’s Word will make the right choice and furnish God with the ‘good ground’!”