The walls of the Mitchell Corn Palace exhibit beautiful murals every year. Scenes include birds in flight, Conestoga wagons heading West, Native American teepees, and rural settings. There is one peculiarity about these murals though—they are made out of corn, seeds, and grasses. The outside murals are replaced each year with a new theme, partly because hungry birds eat from them.

Jesus told a parable about birds and seeds: “Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. And it happened, as he sowed, that some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds of the air came and devoured it” (Mark 4:3-4). Other seed fell among rocky soil and thorns, making them unfruitful (vv.5-7). But some fell on good ground and yielded an abundant crop (v.8).

Jesus explained that when people by the wayside hear God’s Word, “Satan comes immediately and takes away the Word that was sown in their hearts” (v.15). The devil hates the gospel and seeks to prevent people from believing it. Often he subtly encourages hearers to procrastinate on making a decision or to forget what they have heard. To counter this, in our witnessing we should pray that the Lord of the harvest will cause the Word to take root in receptive hearts.