Hearing is important. Jesus said, "He who has ears, let him hear." Hearing means more than just listening with our ears. It refers to one's frame of mind, conscience, and spirit. It signifies spiritual perception and understanding.
The four different soils symbolize four different ways of hearing. The hard ground stands for the closed mind. This is the mind hardened by prejudice, pride, an unteachable spirit, fear of the truth, and self-centeredness. The Word of God has not the slightest chance of gaining entry into such a person's heart. The rocky ground symbolizes the casual mind. The person is gushy, emotional, impulsive, and shallow. He hears and receives God's Word for a while but fails to retain it. The thorny ground illustrates the confused mind, divided between irreconciable loyalties.. In the beginning there is growth and the prospects of fruit, but conflicts arise which kills productivity. The good ground is the committed mind, which is open, receptive, obedient, and perservering.
Hearing without doing is impertinent. It means you are just playing with the truth; you are being frivolous; you don't really mean business. However, hearing converted into doing is the imperative. Hearing and doing is impertinent. It is necessary in order to produce good fruit in our lives. It is necessary in order to build a solid foundation for our character.
At the conclusion of his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, "He who HEARS these words of mine and DOES them is like the wise man who builds his house on the rock. And the one who HEARS my words and DOES NOT DO THEM is like the foolish man who builds his house upon the sand." It is the doing of the word that makes the difference. The gospel is not a story to be heard, it is a summons to be heeded. Amen.