Read Scripture: Matthew 13:1-23; Genesis 1:26-30; Isaiah 28:23-29; Job 28:28; Hosea 10:4; Deuteronomy 24:19-20; Philippians 1:9-11
A lot is happening in the parable Jesus told about the Farmer Scattering Seed. We see seed distribution, hungry birds, a path, temperature fluctuations, depth, weeds, varying soil conditions, and so on. There’s a lot to look at and hear in this story. Like all the parables, just when you think you’ve drilled down to the point, something else pops out at you.
Although there may be other gems of truth to be found in this particular parable, one thing I know is this: Fertile soil is not the goal or final destination—it’s the beginning of fruitful life.
It seems to me that the Pharisees spent so much of their lives worrying about soil cultivation and weed identification that they never got around to planting. Does a farmer always plow and never sow? Is he forever cultivating the soil and never planting? What good is soil management if there’s nothing to harvest in the end?
A fruitful life is what God asked of us in the very beginning. He gave us everything that has life. We don’t need to know it all to start being productive. In gardening, we can get started with the basics: soil, seed, light, water, air, and nutrients. For spiritual growth, perhaps our most basic requisites are God, His Word, and a desire to grow. In both cases, we will boost our harvest by seeking further understanding. And in both cases, we will likely run into stumbling blocks if we fail to seek further guidance or expect that conditions will always stay the same.
If we seek God’s wisdom and receive His instruction with joy, we will learn to work with the cycles and seasons of life and harvest a great abundance from little. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge.
God will never run out of lessons to teach us. If you’re familiar with gardening, you know that the amount of information is staggering. The rabbit hole includes tips about soil amendments, crop rotation, companion plantings, cover crops, composting, plant disease, weed prevention, irrigation, no-till methods, and so much more. The same is true for spiritual growth. If we dig around a little, we’ll find guidance on prayer, worship, bible study, sacred pathways, devotionals, hermeneutics, meditation, service, discipleship, gratefulness, community, building faith, love, solitude, the Enneagram, grace, fasting, forgiveness, activism, journaling, and I could just keep going. When Jesus said that more understanding would be given, I hope you didn’t doubt it!
When it all comes down to it, Paul explains that the end result of our fruitfulness is glory and praise for God. That’s the goal. For our salvation, we praise God and we come to Him in a posture of eager attentiveness because we have experienced that His wisdom infuses our lives with joy. So we listen, we hear, we gain understanding, and in turn, we scatter more of our Father’s seeds as we follow in the footsteps of Jesus. Others join along the way, praising God as they experience Jesus through our love. It is in our faithful abiding that we sustain abundant harvests through all of life’s seasons.