Hear the parable of the sower (Matt. 13:3-8, with18-23 inserted to explain its meaning).
"And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow; and when he sowed, some seeds (the word of the kingdom) fell by the way side (any one heareth, and understandeth it not), and the fowls (the wicked one) came and devoured them up. Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth; and when the sun was up, they were scorched (when tribulation or persecution ariseth); and because they had no root, they withered away (he is offended). And some fell among thorns (the deceitfulness of riches); and the thorns sprung up, and choked them (he becometh unfruitful). But other fell into good ground (he that heareth the word, and understandeth it), and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold."
We can learn much from this parable:
The sower is not identified, so it applies to every person who wants to win souls.
The sower's character is not what wins souls, but the Gospel (the Word).
The sower's character, by desiring to reproduce, demonstrates faith in the Word.
The sower should spread the seed regardless of who is in the audience.
Three out of four people will express some receptiveness to the Gospel.
One will not allow it to take hold of his life (not allow it to take root).
One will not see the "good things of this world" are only temporary.
Only one will understand and want to share the truth with others.
One's faithfulness is not determined by the results.
Even "waterers" should still be planting (1 Cor. 3:6).
What we do not learn from this parable:
It is the Father Who prepares the soil ahead of time (Jn. 6:44).
It is the Son (the Word/Seed) Who dies to give life (Jn. 12:32).
It is the Holy Spirit Who tills the soil (Jn. 16:8-11).
In other words, we do not save souls, but it is God Who gives the increase (1 Cor. 3:7).
"The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise" (Prov. 11:30).
"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen" (Matt. 28:19-20).