A Fertile Heart

by | May 8, 2024

Dear friends,

Today, let’s consider the Parable of the Sower. The parable describes a farmer who scatters seeds. Some seeds fall on the roadside, some on rocky places, some among thorns, and some on good ground.

Jesus explains the parable Himself, "When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the wayside." (Matthew 13:19) The first response is one of no faith. Here, the individual’s heart is not willing to listen to the Gospel because he does not understand it. With the Gospel unreceived, Satan is free to remove it from the individual’s heart.

"But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended." (Matthew 13:20-21) The seeds that fell on rocky ground grew quickly, but having only a shallow layer of soil to grow in, they withered away. When difficulty came, they stumbled due to the struggles they faced.

"He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful." (Matthew 13:22) Similarly, the seeds planted among thorns represent the one who hears the word, but the cares of this world and the trickery of wealth choke the word, and the individual becomes spiritually inactive.

"But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty." (Matthew 13:23) Lastly, the seeds that fell on good ground represent those who hear the Word and understand it. These individuals are transformed from a seed to a full plant, which produces new grain. New seed, which can be used to further the Gospel cause, seed that can spread the Good News far and wide. Some of them produced one hundred times more, some sixty times more, and some thirty times more. What is interesting to note here is that a good crop yield for the time was a ten times return. Even in the worst case of the good ground, the Gospel yields far greater than what is expected.

In practice, this parable teaches us about the necessity of preparing our hearts to be receptive to the Gospel and resilient for God. The ‘sun’ in this parable, which provides life to the seed in good ground but burns away the seed on stony ground, symbolizes the trials and tribulations we face in our daily lives. (Mark 4:17, Luke 8:13) Note that it was not the tribulation that affected whether or not the seeds would grow into strong plants because each one that endured faced the same heat, but rather it was the receptiveness of their soil. So likewise, then, our ability to endure through our trials and spread the Word is determined not by the trials themselves but by the state of our hearts.

The trials of life can strengthen a well-prepared Christian but can break down an unprepared believer. The difference lies in the heart’s perspective. As believers, our goal should be to cultivate a heart of good soil that is well-nourished and ready to receive the Word deeply. This requires regular self-examination, prayer, study of the Scriptures, and fellowship with other believers to ensure that our ‘soil’ is not only receptive but also fortified against the challenges we face.

Let us strive to be like the seed in the good soil, thriving and profitable, not because our circumstances are always favorable, but because our hearts are prepared to withstand whatever comes our way. How has your heart been as it faces the many trials of life? Has it faced them with bitterness and anger, has it surrendered to apathy and defeat? or has it faithfully remained in the joy of the Lord despite the trials.

Together, let’s choose to grow deep roots in the soil of God’s Word so when trials come, we can not only endure but abundantly grow. Remember, even in the harshest conditions, the Gospel yields far greater than what is expected. This is the promise of our faith.

Topics: #Difficulty, #Faith, #Gospel, #Heart, #Parable, #Preparation, #Soil, #Trials, #Tribulation