The Seed Sown On Good Soil
Kingdom Principle: Seeds; Part IX
Locate in Scripture: Matthew 13:1-23; Mark 4:1-20; Luke 8:4-15
I grew up memorizing scripture from a very young age, our family and the church we attended placed a lot of importance on memory verses. This continued through my adolescence as well. While working at our church camp, the director encouraged all staff to memorize James 1. When that was committed to memory it was a natural progression to memorize other passages of scripture. By the time I was an adult, this type of learning had been a lifelong practice for me. Even now, it is not unusual to find me committing to memory the passages of scripture I am currently writing about.
The point is that these verses and passages have become a part of me. Learning them from an early age has helped me recall them quickly when I need them. The other advantage is the Lord reminds me of what they say when I am reading other passages, this brings fullness to my understanding. Best of all, since they are committed to memory I have the ability to think and meditate on scripture even when my Bible is not readily available. For me, memorization has played a key role in the harvest I am now reaping in life.
The Good Soil has Less
“Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, multiplying thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times.” Then Jesus said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear” (Mark 4:8-9).
The fourth type of soil is the seed that is sown on good ground. When the seed is received it yields fruit multiplying thirty, sixty or even a hundredfold what was sown. Planting in good ground has an amazing return and is a surefire investment.
Notice that the seed is the same, however there is something special about the soil. This soil does not have more, it has less. Less rocks, less thorns, less hardness, less cares, less worries and less distractions so it has more room for the seed to work and produce.
When Jesus explained this parable He told us a few things about this type of soil, “But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown” (Matthew 13:23). So the elements to having good soil is hearing the Word and understanding it. Notice that this is the exact opposite of the first type of soil (the seed along the path), which are those who hear and do not understand, and the seed is quickly stolen (Matthew 13:19). Understanding is the key to producing in the kingdom.
In Luke’s explanation Jesus gives another element to having good receptive soil, “But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop” (Luke 8:15). An essential truth to understand when planting is that the harvest does not happen right away, there is a time element to it.
Jesus explained this in the parable of the growing seed, “He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come” (Mark 4:26-29).
The soil activates the seed and helps it to produce. Night and day, whether eating or sleeping the seed sprouts and grows. It takes time and we do not have to understand this process but rather, only know it is working when we do not yet see visible proof. Notice this process is the exact opposite of the second type of soil; in the soil with the rocky ground the seed grows quickly however since there is no root system to support the growth it, dies quickly (Matthew 13:6, Mark 4:6, Luke 8:6). So an important element to having a harvest is having patience and perseverance. There are stages of growth, it takes time to get this system working in your life, but in the long run it will pay off.
Jesus ends this explanation by declaring, “He who has ears, let him hear” (Matthew 13:9). Or as the Amplified Bible describes it, “He who has ears [to hear], let him be listening and let him consider and perceive and comprehend by hearing” (Matthew 13:9 AMP). Just as perseverance helps the harvest, listening, considering and continually understanding will also help the return. Notice this is the exact opposite of the third type of soil, which is the soil with the thorns. The thorns choked the seed making it unfruitful (Matthew 13:7, Mark 4:7, Luke 8:7). This is an illustration of life and letting the cares and concerns of the world occupy your thoughts and attention. These things will choke out the Word, preventing it from producing. However, Jesus said an element to having good producing soil is focusing, meditating and considering these truths continually. Listening so that you hear and understand, it is a continual process and it helps keep the weeds out.
Planting and Watering the Seed
The Word of God is a seed and to be successful and prosperous in life we must plant into the womb of our heart and let it grow. How is this accomplished?
First, we must get the Word off the page and into our understanding. Paul tell us, “Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). So the first step in the process is hearing it. In other words, you must read it, read it out loud to yourself. Jot down questions you have about the text. Read it again. Talk about it with your friends. Think about it when you are driving. Ponder and consider what you’ve read. Pray and ask the Lord questions about it. Never stop reading it! Jesus said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear” or another way to put it is let him hear, consider, ponder, meditate, mull it over, chew it up and perceive it. Spend some time in the Word and have both patience and perseverance with it. Perseverance, because it takes effort to settle and quiet yourself, entering into a place where you can listen and receive. And patience because it takes time to comprehend and understand. There is a process of coming into a revelation of scripture. Fortunately, from this parable we understand that the seeds are working even when we do not yet see visible proof.
Next, take encouragement knowing that the Holy Spirit is there to help you. In fact we have an unction from the Holy Spirit the moment we are born again. John tells us, “But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth” (I John 2:20). His knowledge is deposited in our born again spirits, so we know the truth and it is the Holy Spirit’s job to remind us of this, “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (John 14:26). This is one of His primary functions, “As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him” (I John 2:27). So as you read take comfort knowing the Holy Spirit is there to remind and guide you into all truth.
Next, water the seed. It’s amazing what a little water will do to help with the growth process. Did you know that the Word of God is both the seed and the water? “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:10-11). God’s Word is illustrated both by seed and water, so plant the Word and then water it by taking in more scripture and God is the one who will make it grow, “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow” (I Corinthians 3:6-7).
Finally, know that it is working because what is being planted is incorruptible seed, “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God” (I Peter 1:23). The seed will always work; you can take comfort and encouragement in that!
Blessed is the One Who Delights in the Word
“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. 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 1:1-3).
Join me for Part X; ‘The Return; Thirty, Sixty, One Hundred Times What Was Sown'.