The Seed Sown On Rocky Ground
Kingdom Principle: Seeds; Part VII
Locate in Scripture: Matthew 13:1-23; Mark 4:1-20; Luke 8:4-15
I love tomatoes, so one spring I thought I would bypass buying plants in favor of starting my plants as seedlings. I bought the seeds and the supplies to do this. When I planted the seeds, I was amazed to see they sprouted within two days. However since I do not have a green thumb nor was I prepared for the life-cycle of seedlings, the plants died as fast as they sprouted because there was no room for growth... I didn’t get them planted in the ground fast enough.
No Depth of Soil; No Growth
“Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root” (Matthew 13:5-6).
The second type of soil is the seed that fell on rocky ground. Since the ground was shallow the seed started to grow quickly. However the soil could not sustain growth because there was no depth to it. So the seedling, when trying to weather the sun with no resource for moisture, withered quickly because it had no root system. Notice the end result is the same as the seed that fell along the path.
This is Jesus’ explanation; “The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away” (Matthew 13:20-21).
In Jesus’ interpretation we learn four things. First, unlike the seed sown along the path, this seed does penetrate the soil and grow. Secondly, the seed is received with joy. Next, it only lasts momentarily because of circumstances. Lastly, affliction causes them to fall away.
This is the person who receives the Word with gladness and gets excited but does not take the time to let roots develop. Just like the seedling, growth above the surface is quickly evident however; they will never produce because there is no depth of soil to sustain this growth. Because of this they are very vulnerable.
To make matters worse, during times of testing they quickly fall away (Luke 8:13). Jesus makes it very clear in this passage that persecution comes because of the Word (Matthew 13:21; Mark 4:17). Satan is the author of persecution and affliction in our lives. It comes for the Word’s sake because he wants to steal it from your heart. If it’s not laying on the surface to be stolen then he wants to tear it out before it gets rooted and established. It is much easier to root out a seedling than an established tree.
It Takes Time to Develop Roots
To see the Word produce in your life, it takes time and you have to commit to it as a lifestyle. Effort needs to be put into getting rooted and grounded. Don’t dwell on the visible results. Take the example of an oak tree, for every foot above the ground there is three to four feet of roots below the ground. By the time the seedling sprouts it is already well established. Then throughout its lifecycle, it withstands the storms because the strong roots make it stable. Put your effort into your root system. Get established in scripture and God will take care of the plume. Meditate, study, strive to understand and get some depth of soil. In the Christian life, visible results in life and ministry is a direct result of how deep your root system is.
The Word of God needs to get off the printed page and inside you to work. We need to get to a place where God’s Word is more real to us than anything else. Paul understood this which is why he said, “Let God be true, and every man a liar” (Romans 3:4a). We must have this attitude concerning the scriptures. It has to be more important to us than our world views. It has to dictate our thoughts and actions. We have to decide that it is the absolute truth and authority in our lives. All of this takes time, which is a safeguard for us. However to have a harvest we must plant the seeds and give it time and room to produce.
Seedtime and Harvest
Here’s the good news when planting seeds, they are working and growing even when we don’t yet see results. 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).
There is a process to growth. First the seed is planted, then it sprouts, then a stalk appears, then the bud develops, then the fruit grows and is ready to be harvested. You can’t cheat a seed, there is always a time element to it. However, we can have faith when planting that this process is working even when we don’t see it or understand it because the principle of seeds is a kingdom principle. God designed it from the beginning to operate in this way (Genesis 1:11-13; Matthew 13:35). So we plant, we live our lives knowing that the seeds we’ve planted will grow and produce fruit if we give it the right conditions to do so.
Join me for Part VIII; ‘The Seed Sown Among Thorns'.