The Return; Thirty, Sixty, One Hundred Times What Was Sown
Kingdom Principle: Seeds; Part X
Locate in Scripture: Matthew 13:1-23; Mark 4:1-20; Luke 8:4-15
One spring Sunday our Pastor was inviting people to participate in buying twenty dollars’ worth of seed to be pooled together and given to a local farmer to plant. Then in the fall when the crop was harvested, it was to be sold and the proceeds used to buy food for those in need. The Pastor explained to the congregation what the average return was, as he described the amount of return this twenty dollars’ worth of seed would bring in, my husband and I looked at each other because it was exactly the return that Jesus said it would be in the parable of the sower. That is the Word fulfilling itself. When you plant a crop on good soil it will yield a return of thirty, sixty, one hundred times what is sown, this is a kingdom truth.
Return on Investment
“Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown” (Mark 4:20).
Jesus promises an amazing return on investment. If you take Him at His word and start planting the truth of the scripture in your life, He promises this seed will take root, grow and continually produce.
Throughout this parable we see a progression in the types of soil, which concludes with the soil that produces a return from the seed. It starts with hardness to the Word. The seed does not get planted, so it cannot produce. In the second stage, we might get excited about what we hear, but it’s not really our revelation so the seed that has started growing, quickly dies. In the third type of soil, the weeds choke the seed making it unfruitful. This is an illustration of life’s busyness, cares and worries, so again there is no return. However if the seed gets planted on good soil, then what is produced yields a return far greater than what was planted. That is the power of a seed.
In three out of four soils there is no return, the fail rate is great. However in the fourth type of soil, when there is a return, it is not merely a one to one ratio. In other words, you do not get one head of grain for one seed planted, you get multiple. This is an amazing truth; each seed that is planted and allowed to grow will yield in abundance. Plant a little seed, have a large harvest.
The Greater Return
As I was meditating on this I was curious about what makes the difference in the rate of the return. I thought about the difference between a tomato plant and an apple tree. A tomato plant is seasonal, you plant in late spring and it grows tomatoes all summer long. Put it in the sunshine being careful to water it and you will have an abundance of fruit.
An apple tree is also planted in the spring however you will not get any fruit from the tree that first year. In fact the tree will take two to five years before producing a single apple. During that time however the tree can grow between twenty and forty feet high. And when it starts to produce it produces year, after year, after year. According to a study done by the University of Illinois, during its lifetime, an apple tree will produce an average of 820 pounds of fruit. Another interesting fact about apple trees is that they do not self-pollinate, meaning to produce they need to be located by another apple tree.
When comparing the two I got a wonderful picture of the greater return. In both examples, the seeds produced, however the apple tree, took a long time to get established and needed a partner tree, but when ready, continually produced fruit every year. In application to life, this rings true. There are many wonderful truths that when understood and operated in they will continually produce in our lives. However the difference between the lower yield and the greater is patience and longevity. In other words, you must continually cultivate the Word that has been planted. Give it time to grow and surround yourself by other like-minded believers to encourage you in the process.
King David recognized this and recorded in the Psalm about the man who continually delights and meditates in the Word of God, “He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers” (Psalm 1:3).
Jesus said this is the key to a good return, “But as for that [seed] in the good soil, these are [the people] who, hearing the Word, hold it fast in a just (noble, virtuous) and worthy heart, and steadily bring forth fruit with patience” (Luke 8:15 AMP).
Thinking about this in my own life, I see the application of this truth. When I started writing through scripture, it was at a point in my life where I needed to draw healing from it. As I worked through the book of Romans, my heart responded to the grace expressed through Christ Jesus and everything changed. I didn’t see myself as I was, I saw myself as who God says I am. Like the tomato plant, these truths started growing and producing quickly. They affected my worldview, my life, my family and how I interact with others. However, something unexpected happened as well, as I continued on this path searching and studying the scriptures, taking the time to write and explain them so as to understand and know them, what I have written has blessed others. Years later I continually get emails and comments of thanks about the truths I wrote so long ago. Like an apple these things continually produce year, after year, after year. Not only do they produce in my life, they have reproduced in others when they also understood the amazing truths from scripture.
This is an encouraging word, when planting God’s Word and cultivating our heart soil, we know we will get a return. Through patience and longevity we can expect 100% return on the investment. This is an amazing Kingdom truth!
Join me for Part XI; 'Everything Concealed Will Be Brought Into the Open'.