While sitting on my bed I looked out of one of the windows. It was extremely windy outside. I fell into a bit of a trance.
My attention was captured by the top of the trees which seemed to sway back and forth. These trees stand at least 100 feet tall. Many of them are not very robust around the trunk in comparison to their height.
I was somewhat amazed that the wind was blowing so profusely, yet not a single tree had blown over. I’m well aware (and I hope you are too), that any weather element produced by God is more than capable of knocking down a tree of any size. But it did make me curious. How strong and deep are their roots?
Even looking at the significantly smaller trees which haven’t been growing nearly as long, I suspected that they too had strong roots. They appeared to take on the wind with what seemed to be the same might as the older trees. Another thought crossed my mind. They must have been planted in good soil.
Several of those same trees have since been cut down to prepare the yard for a new lawn. A new lawn necessitated planting grass seeds.
Reflecting on the trees that withstood the wind, and pondering on the process of growing grass, brought to mind, the Parable of the Sower.
This was one of many parables Jesus used to help his disciples understand the Word of God. And in particular, He used the Parable of the Sower to help them understand how one responds when they hear the Word.
The parable is found in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. The essence of the parable is that the same seed sown on four different types of ground will all yield a different result.
Let’s dig into this some more…pun intended.
Much like in the parable, the grass seed that had fallen onto our concrete walkway was devoured by the birds. We walked all over it to get to and from the backyard. And on top of that, the rain did its part in washing it away.
This grass seed in particular didn’t stand a chance against any of these elements. Yet, neither does the person with a heart as hard as that concrete path.
Proverbs 4:23 reminds us to guard our hearts. The Passion Translation specifically says… “Pay attention to the welfare of your innermost being, for from there flows the wellspring of life.” If our hearts are hardened, how can we expect the Word of our Father in Heaven to reach our souls?
Typically, when I think of a rock, I imagine something solid and immovable. In many ways, this can be a great thing. You know, kind of like, Jesus is the Rock of my salvation.
But when you are sowing seeds, the last thing anyone wants or needs is for rocks to be present in their soil. Unfortunately, some small rocks were left behind during my yard’s soil preparation. And although small, these rocks have impeded the growth in some areas.
I’ve heard this ground be compared to the person who attends weekly church service. They are typically fired up from the praise, worship, and sermon experience. But none of what they have absorbed sticks long enough to help them in life’s battles. Why? Because they spend no other time with God throughout the remainder of the week. How can we expect faith to grow and help us in the battles of life if we spend little time in the Word?
Thorns are designed to protect. They keep out or deter an intruder from taking over the host to which it belongs. I wouldn’t however, consider the thorns in this parable a form of protection. Luke 8:14 uses the word choke. I see that more as interference or distraction.
We have all experienced for ourselves or were in the presence of someone else choking on food. The person choking has interference in their eating. Nearly every person that is close by, is distracted. They stop to see what’s happening and look on with concern. Some may even stop to help the person who is in distress.
In the parable, the thorns serve as a distraction – worries, riches, and pleasures of life. These thorns are the very things that Satan entices us to place our focus on. We all have worries from time to time and we all want to enjoy the finer things. What happens when we invest more into our worries and our desires for worldly possessions than we do the Word? Our spiritual growth inevitably struggles to reach maturity.
Several steps went into the process of growing grass in my yard. First, my landscaper started by removing leaves, rocks, and other debris from the area where the grass was to grow. Next, he tilled the soil which loosened it up to receive the seeds. After tilling, he added fertilizer to the soil to make it more nutrient-rich.
By taking this step-by-step approach, it prepared the soil so that when the seeds were sown, they would successfully germinate.
As defined by Merriam-Webster, germinate means, “to begin to grow”. Synonymously, we can replace grow with other words like, develop, mature, evolve, prosper, and flourish. Need I go on?
Preparing our [spiritual] ground will help our soil become more fertile. When God’s Word is regularly sown into fertile soil the roots become strong enough to withstand the mightiest of windstorms. Good soil and deep roots will aid in producing a harvest that’s a hundred times what has been sown by God’s Word.
How is your soil today? Is there any concrete to break up? Are there any rocks or thorns you need to remove?