Mark 4:20–And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.
A guest preacher at our church, Bill Boggs, preached on the parable of the sower this morning. I have heard a message from this passage several times, each time different, each time good. For some reason, hearing it this morning struck me with a new mental image, and I want to try to get across the picture to you.
When you plant a garden desiring to have a harvest of vegetables to eat for your family and share with friends, it’s a lot of work. Some people plant huge gardens, some small. But, each plant with the intention of getting results–of getting good fruit. We have sown grass seed before and it’s a little different. With grass seed, we throw it out–lots of it–and hope some will grow. But, with a food garden, you must be much more careful. We have never tilled, but many do, or plow. But, we do prepare each hole for each seed. We dig down into the ground and put good, black soil in with the seed to give it a head start at surviving.
The seed of the word is no different. If it is tossed out, some seeds may grow, others may not. But if you personally prepare a place within your heart–you carve out a specific niche and fill it with good, black soil (love, openness, willingness, obedience)–then when you learn something new from the word, or when God gives you something new, you are ready for it.
If we leave our vegetable seeds uncovered, even though the seed is in the good, rich soil, some critter may come along and steal it. So, we make sure to cover the seed over, pat down the ground, and give it a good watering. That, too, we must do with the new seed of God’s word that we have been given. We’ve put it in the place prepared for the new seed and then cover it over with acceptance, graciousness, and gratefulness and we protect it, we guard it, we keep it from being stolen. Because if the new seeds aren’t protected, we will lose them, and lose whatever good may have come from them had we been able to hang on.
Once we have covered over our seeds, we water and diligently weed, and wait. We watch for the seeds to spring out sprouts and we cross our fingers that the result will be yummy squash and beans and peas. With the seeds God has given, we need to keep them weeded and watered too. Keep studying, keep praying, keep meditating until they sprout. When they do, don’t just cross your fingers and hope for good fruit. Put those little sproutlings to work and make sure they will bear good fruit by exercising your faith in God, in His plan for their fruit, and trust in Him that He has given you the type of seed you need–because, no doubt, He has, and He can’t wait to see what you do with them-relish them yourselves and then share them with others.
(Photo above taken by me at Cades Cove, Fall 2015)