The devil comes and takes away the word ...
The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.
Most of us are familiar with the parable of the sower and the seed but if you are not you can read it in Luke 8:4-15. Today I would like to consider the seed that "fell along the path and was trampled underfoot, and the birds of the air devoured it". Jesus tells us that the seed is the "word of God" and the ground is the heart.
Oddly enough the sower in the story does not seem to be concerned that he has wasted seed by throwing it on a foot path where it will be unable to take root. He seems to treat all ground surfaces like they are equal even though he knows that only the good soil will produce a crop. So the problem is not the seed but the place that it has fallen.
This part of the story speaks to me of how easy it is to reject the gospel message when one has a heart hardened to God. Many things make a heart hard. In my early life I let bitterness and pain establish a hard inner crust in me. And when God's message of salvation came to me I rejected it. Fortunately God had an antidote for my hard heart.
Help me today Lord to encourage others and melt hearts hardened by pain, disappointment and bitterness.