“And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow; And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: ” (Matthew 13:3-4 KJV)
When you fall by the wayside, you give up a task, or cease to be important. For example, a politician who falls by the wayside has become irrelevant to the agenda of his party.
Origin and Application:
Jesus liked to speak in parables, a way of teaching common among the Jews and Arabians in those times. By using parables, spiritual teachings can be better understood in everyday language by the audiences. In the above parable, Jesus likened his teachings to seeds. Some people took them to heart and accepted God, but some simply ignored them, as if they were falling by the way side, or edge of the road where there are stones and grit, but not fertile soil.
At first he did well, but after a few setbacks he fell by the wayside.