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In chapter 8 verse 4 we come to a familiar scene where Jesus introduces the parable of the sower:
While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable: "A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds ate it up. Some fell on rock, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown." When he said this, he called out, "Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear."
His disciples asked him what this parable meant. He said, "The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that, "'though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand.'
"This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God.
FIRST-UNRECEPTIVE SOIL—Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.
SECOND-INSINCERE SOIL—Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.
THIRD-DISTRACTED SOIL—The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life's worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.
FOURTH-GOOD SOIL—PRODUCTIVE—But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.
1—Jesus is the sower of the seed. In Matthew’s version of this teaching (Matt. 13:37) Jesus says that the Son of Man is the sower. When Jesus was physically on the earth, His words were pitched out to those who listened to Him. Today, Jesus is still sowing the seed as we introduce the person of Jesus to others through our lives and through our own stories.
2—The seed is the word of God. What the word of God meant to Jesus was the “Good News of the kingdom of God.” This is what His primary message was as He taught throughout the villages and synagogues. Therefore, the word of God is the active presence of God in us in the form of a seed.
3—This word of the kingdom of God has tremendous spiritual power within us to be productive—to be fruitful. It was able to produce
4—Its effect on you is determined by your response to it. It’s all a matter of responsiveness. NOTE that you are not responsible to bring forth the fruit, but the power of the seed will produce the fruit if planted in the good soil.
In the past few years I’ve come to realize that these soils are dynamic in our lives. I have been each of these soils at one time or another. So, I must concern myself with having ears to hear the word in order to be receptive as good soil. This also answers what I see with people who all of a sudden “get it”, yet they have been around this sowing for years.
Now, here is what blows my mind about this teaching. Jesus is saying that if you have ears to hear, are receptive to the Good News of the kingdom, be sincere about it with a single-minded focus, then you will be very fruitful. He uses 30, 60 and 100 fold in fruitfulness. Fruitfulness is basically the spiritual growth and maturity in your own life and the effects of your life on others around you. He begins with 30 fold. To be 30 fold is three times that of a normal crop. So, this means that the lowest level of fruitfulness will be outstanding. Then, He goes on to say you may enjoy multiples of that, even to the point of 60 and 100 fold. That’s incredible—beyond belief!
So, which soil are you right now? Since you are reading or listening to this daily instruction, I’m going to eliminate that one for you. That leaves, the insincere, the distracted and the good soil. So, where are you when you measure your receptivity to the seed Jesus is sowing in your life right now?
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
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