I believe that it could be rightly said that God is always sowing in your life. As you are reading this and your mind is drawn to the love of God, seeds of mercy and grace from His Word, the Bible, are being planted into your heart. God is holy and God is just, but hearing (or reading, as it were) of the love of God as expressed through His Son, Jesus Christ, is God’s intervention in you to receive forgiveness and life.
Since the seed of God’s Word has been cast into your experience, the trick then is whether or not your life is a fertile soil in which that seed can take root, germinate and ultimately bear eternal fruit.
Jesus describes this spiritual reality in Matthew 13 in what we usually call the “Parable of the Sower”. He says in verses 1-9 that seed was sown into a variety of soils, but only one type bore fruit. By “fruit”, He specifically means the fruit that goes into eternal life (life beyond the end of your physical body).
In verses 18-23, Jesus explains the soils. He says that the seed sown along the path which was devoured by the birds, is the Word of God but it is not understood or appreciated and then the evil one (the devil) interferes and snatches away what has been sown in the hearer’s heart (v. 19). That is to say, that the hearer is the intentional target of misinformation, lies, and “fake news” (spiritually speaking). So although the hearer heard the Word of God, he dismisses it and moves on to other things that sound easier or more appealing to him.
Jesus then shares about the soil that is like a rocky ground, comparing it to the person who hears the Word of God (the Gospel of Jesus Christ) and receives it joyfully (v. 20), but as the Word does not take root (become deeply embedded in the hearer’s heart), comes to nothing when trouble or persecution come. Persecution is the pressure one feels as a result of trusting Jesus as Lord and Savior and living a life pleasing to Him. It can range from vague discomfort to outright physical pain and suffering as the world resists what God is doing in the life of the Believer. No depth spiritually results in an eventual withering and failure to bear fruit.
The seed sown into the ground with thorns, the seed does sprout and does put some roots down, but is eventually overwhelmed by the “cares of the world and deceitfulness of riches” (v. 22). and proves to be unfruitful. This is like a Believer who may indeed profess faith, but is so busy with worry or with trying to get ahead, he loses sight of the eternal aspect of his life and fails to see the true purpose of his salvation.
Then there is the fertile soil. This is the Believer who receives the Word of God, His forgiveness, trusts it and lives it, and then shares it with others. As gardens go, flower gardens are lovely, but the people of God are created to bear fruit that goes beyond our physical existence here, and extends in flourishing ways into eternity.
The Bible tells us that Jesus told this parable to “great crowds” who had gathered about Him to hear Him speak of the Kingdom of God (see Matthew 13:1-2). This is because the people gathered around him were a mixed bunch of people who would receive the words that Jesus was speaking in a number of ways.
Some heard and dismissed it because they preferred other paths to the one Jesus presented them. Some heard and were glad, but His words did not take root in the soil of their hearts and so, after the smallest inconvenience, they left it and went on to other things. Some heard, but their hearts were so riddled with worry that they felt that they could never quite fully trust Jesus’ offer of salvation, and every opportunity for potential fruit was choked out by distraction and hesitation, so there was no real effect of Jesus’ life and power in them.
But then there were some. Some who heard. Some who believed. Some who received and embraced His words. These few, revealed only over the course of time and through many hardships and challenges, were the few who bore fruit. The effect of their lives impacted others in turn so that others also eventually would hear, believe, receive and embrace those same words of Jesus and, as a result, experience eternal life.
Which soil are you?
(Thom Mollohan and his family have ministered in southern Ohio the past 24 ½ years, is the author of Led by Grace, The Fairy Tale Parables, Crimson Harvest, and A Heart at Home with God. He blogs at “unfurledsails.wordpress.com.” Pastor Thom leads Pathway Community Church and may be reached for comments or questions by email at [email protected] Viewpoints expressed are the work of the author.)