First, listening and understanding are the right responses to the kingdom. In Matt. 13:9, Jesus closes the parable with the challenge, “He who has ears, let him hear!” Luke 8:18 says, “Take care then how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away.” (ESV)
Do you hear the call to trust Jesus and follow him? Take care how you listen to that call. Be careful how you respond to that call. If you reject that message, God will conceal from you the secrets of the kingdom. If you receive that message, God will reveal more of the kingdom to you.
Second, to understand the word is to obey God’s rule in your life. Understanding is a gift from God. Jesus says, “To you has been given to know the kingdom.” You do not earn it. You receive it as a gift from God. That is God’s part. Your part is to obey the word of the kingdom.
“Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart” (Ps. 119:34, ESV). God gives you the gift of understanding. But you are responsible to obey God’s law in your whole heart.
To be the good soil, the productive soil, is to receive the gift of understanding, so that you will obey God’s law in your whole being.
Third, there are only two kinds of people in this world. Those who hear the word, understand it, and persevere in Christ. Those who do not receive the word, not understand it, and not persevere in Christ because of a hardened heart, a shallow heart, or a distracted heart. Some will believe Christ and continue to follow Him. Some will believe Christ and fall away from Him.
Which kind of soil are you? Do you understand the word of the kingdom and follow Christ? Or do you not understand it and fall away from Christ?