"A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some seed fell along the footpath, where it was trampled on, and the birds ate it up. Some seed fell on rock and, after coming up, withered for lack of moisture. Some seed fell in among thistles, and the thistles grew up with it and choked it. And some of the seed fell into good soil, and grew, and yielded a hundred-fold ...
...The seed is the word of God. Those along the footpath are the men who hear it, and then the devil comes and carries off the word from their hearts for fear they should believe and be saved. The seed sown on rock stands for those who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but have no root; they are believers for a while, but in the time of testing they desert. That which fell among the thistles represents those who hear, but their further growth is choked by cares and wealth and the pleasures of life, and they bring nothing to maturity. But the seed in good soil represents those who bring a good and honest heart to the hearing of the word, hold it fast, and by their perseverance yield a harvest."
Luke 8: 5-8, 11-16.
Some things of interest I noticed about this parable.
The first group of people seem to lack a choice as to whether they get to keep the word or not. They hear it, but then the devil removes it, so that they can't believe. Do they want the devil to remove it? And why is the devil associated with birds, in terms of the parable?
The latter group, prior to believing, apparently already have a good and honest heart, and because they have that good and honest heart, they hear the word, hold to it, and then produce some great fruit. How would this be reconciled with the idea that we're all bad people? Or that we can't have a good heart prior to the intercession of Jesus?
It's also rather work-based. The last group holds fast to the word, and because they persevere, they produce a harvest. Wouldn't holding to the word entail effort on their part? Though it might depend on what the 'word' is that Jesus is referring to. 'Hold to it fast' could also refer to faith, but then why not simply say faith?
The word is also connected with growth. It originally starts as a seed, and then must grow. There has to be some sort of end result. It's not just a matter of believing, it's a matter of what is produced.