I had been attending church since my teens and was very involved in Christian Ministries in my varsity days. I have read and heard this Parable of the Sower countless of times. All the while, I thought the message of this parable is simple and never realise there were hidden messages. Very simply, I understood that the four scenario referred to four types of people:
- The seeds that fall on footpath refers to people who do not understand the gospel and do not accept Jesus as their Saviour.
- The seeds that fall on Stony or rocky ground refers to people who believe the gospel, and receive it with joy. However, they soon forget the message and when difficulties arise in their life, they lost their faith.
- The seeds that fall on Thorny ground refers to people who hear the Good news of the gospel and accept Jesus. However, the lure of riches and worldly stuff were their primary concern and it is difficult for them to give up the pleasures in life and pursue the things of God, e.g sharing the gospel. They do not lead people to Christ and hence are not fruitful.
- The seeds that fall on good ground represents those who were diligent in putting God first, sharing the gospel and reaping the harvest for God. Hence Jesus described that they are fruitful.
However, there are greater things in this parable that we can learn and yet they are not obvious:
It was only recently when I was working on the illustration of the Parable of the Sower and meditate upon the scriptures that I felt as if God opened up my eyes and gave me greater and deeper understanding of this parable. These are what I have learnt:
1. To have Good Soil, Spend Time With God
The Stony ground has little soil and the seeds cannot draw much nourishments and be deeply rooted. Ask yourself, for us, where does our nourishments come from? From God! Jesus said in John 15:4:
“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me” (John 14:4 ,NKJV)
Our God is a living God. He loves us and seeks a love relationship with us. God loves it when we spend time with Him. Read the story of David and the psalms he wrote and you will realise how close a relationship David had with God. He will inquired of God before he went out to fight a war. So was Enoch. The bible said in Genesis 5:24 that Enoch walked with God and God took Enoch to heaven. Remember the story of Mary and Martha? In Luke 10:39, it described Mary sat at Jesus’ feet and listened to Him and in Luke 10:42, Jesus commented that only one thing is necessary and Mary had chosen the good part.
Hence, to be good soil, we have to spend time with God. Talk to Him, tell Him our concerns, our confusion, our pains. Cry to Him and ask Him to help us.
2. It’s not our effort, it’s God’s
Our first priority, as Jesus said that only one thing is needful, is to spend time with God. We do not become fruitful by putting in first priority to work for God, like what Martha did. It is not our effort to do things for God, to evangelise, to lead bible study, to lead prayer meeting that bring about fruitfulness. Do not get me wrong. I am not saying to stop all these. What I am saying is that it is God who will bring about fruitfulness in our life. It began with a relationship with God.
Once we have a deep relationship with God, even when the sun gets hot, it will not scorch us, we will not be crushed when problems in life occur. Naturally, we will want to share our life, share the Good News of the gospel of Jesus to others. Evangelism and serving in ministries are our fruits as we draw nourishments from God. God will bring about fruitfulness in our life. It is not our own effort to achieve fruitfulness by our work for God. In fact, when it begin with our effort to do things for God, we meet immense resistance within ourselves as Paul said in Romans 7:15, we do the things we do not want to do and do not do the things we desire to.
So, remember, it’s God who will bring about fruitfulness. Immerse ourselves in the presence of God. Talk to Him. Cry to Him. Listen to Him.
3. Our Faith In God Will Grow When We Spend Time With God
When we spend time with God, we are drawing good nourishments from God like seeds drawing nourishments from soil. As we spend time with God, God will bring to our memory His words like seeds deepening their roots. When we face tribulation and persecution, the word of God reminds us that our God is a living God and His words are His promises to us. His words give us strength and direction. We will therefore grow in faith. As we develop this communication and walk with our living God, the lure of this world are not our primary concerns.We will be like Mary, enjoying Jesus at His feet, mesmerised with Him. We are like seeds in good soil, plenty of good soil (not stony with little soil), soil without thorns.
4. God’s Promise : As Our Faith In God Strengthen, We Become Fruitful
That’s the promise Jesus gave in this Parable of the Sower. When we are strongly grounded in God, in the right season, we will produce plenty of good crops. Yes, plenty. When our faith strengthen, we will be fruitful. We will see success in our life. How can that be explained logically or scientifically? Simply by our faith (in our hearts and minds) and mountains are moved? Well, it’s demonstrated by Jesus in all the healing recorded in the four gospel. It’s said by Jesus in Matthew 17:20:
5. Fruitfulness Is Not Limited To Evangelism
Jesus mentioned in Matthew 13:8 and Matthew 13:23 that when we are on good ground, we will be fruitful. Is this fruitfulness referring to only about being able to bring many to receive Jesus as their Saviour? I believe that fruitfulness in this parable refers to not just evangelism but everything in our life. Yes, everything. As I was reading Matthew 13, the following scriptures came to my mind and I realised that the Parable of the Sower is talking about the same thing:
- Psalm 1:2-3
2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
3 He shall be like a tree
Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.
- Jeremiah 17:7-8
7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
And whose hope is the Lord.
8 For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,
Which spreads out its roots by the river,
And will not fear when heat comes;
But its leaf will be green,
And will not be anxious in the year of drought,
Nor will cease from yielding fruit.
- Hebrews 11:1, 6
1Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him,for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.In fact all these verses speak of the same thing as in the Parable of the Sower. Spend time with God and we will grow in faith in God. God will cause us to prosper and be fruitful in His time. Remember the story of Joseph? In God’s appointed time, He caused Joseph to prosper.
6. Fruitfulness Is Supernatural
Yes, we need to realise that God is spirit. God is supernatural. God is Almighty. God loves to perform miracles. Remember all the miracles Jesus did when He walked on earth — the ten plague, the parting of the Red Sea, the turning of bitter water to sweet water, the sandals of the Israelites that never worn out and many many miracles. Read this hidden treasure in Luke 4:4 that said man shall not live on bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. Our God is a God who does the supernatural. Let God perform miracles in your life by blessing you with fruitfulness in everything you set forth to do.
7. Mysteries of Kingdom of Heaven : Fruitfulness began when you spend time with God
My friend, do you lack something in your life? Are you waiting for a job? Are you praying for a child? Are you facing difficulties in relationship? Spend time with Jesus. Tell Him your need. Be mesmerised with Jesus. Let the Holy Spirit speaks to you and remind you of God’s words and help your faith grow. Then in God’s appointed time, you will see God’s blessing of success. This is the way how things work in God’s kingdom. It is the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven revealed and I thank God for this knowledge.