Many people have heard the statement, “You reap what you sow.” Or, as my wife learned when she was making drapes for a living, “You rip what you sew.” When it comes to sowing and reaping we often fail to enjoy the blessings that God has for us because we don’t fully understand the lesson of the parable of the sower.
The parable of the sower is important because Jesus told his disciples that they needed to understand it in order to be able to understand all the parables (Mark 4:13). Most of the teaching that I’ve heard on this parable center around preaching the Gospel, but when we look at it from the standpoint of faith and how we sow the seeds of our faith through our words and prayers, we see that we can learn a lot about how to enjoy more of God’s blessings.
Seed Along The Path
Jesus starts this parable by saying, “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.” (Matthew 13:3-4) When He later explains the meaning of the parable to the disciples He says, “When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path.” (Matthew 13:19)
When it comes to our faith, the first problem we all have to face is our own lack of understanding about God and His kingdom. Hebrews 11:6 says “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
If we are to avoid sowing our seeds along the path, we need to understand that God is who He says He is. His love and His power are infinite, His kingdom is within us, and all that He has for us is available to us when we seek Him with all our hearts. Nothing is impossible for God, and when we understand that, believe in it, and seek Him, it will bring joy to His heart and strengthen our faith.
Seed On Rocky Places
Jesus goes on to say that some of the seed fell on rocky places and because there wasn’t much soil, it grew quickly, but then withered and died because the plants had no roots (Matthew 13:5-6). He then explains it to the disciples and says, “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 13:21)
There have been many times when I’ve prayed for something, but then other people have told me that what I was asking for was impossible, or God has taken longer to answer the prayer than I had wanted, or some other problem or trial comes along, and my faith has withered and died.
James 1:2-4 tells us that we should rejoice when we face various problems and trials because we know that our faith is being tested. It is the testing of our faith that helps us develop perseverance. The promise in James is that once we have added perseverance to our faith, we will be mature and complete, and that we will then lack nothing. There have been many times when I’ve wondered if I have suffered lack in my life simply because my faith had no roots, because I lacked perseverance.
Seed Among Thorns
One of the first things we learn about this farmer in Matthew 13 is that he never gave up. His seed fell on the path, on rocky ground, and he still kept sowing. But the next seeds he sowed fell among thorns, and Jesus said, “The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful.” (Matthew 13:22)
When our seeds fall among the thorns it’s because we fail to recognize that it is God who answers our prayers. He is the one who supplies all our needs. It’s not the world; it’s not even our jobs. If we begin to worry about how we’re going to solve our problems, or start blaming the economy, the government, or anything else for our lack, we are worrying too much about our circumstances and we are forgetting God. When we trust God, we realize that He is more powerful than anything else in our lives.
The other problem that can cause our seeds to become unfruitful is that wealth will deceive us if we begin to think we got it on our own. In Deuteronomy 8:17-18 God warns the people about the deceitfulness of wealth when He says, “You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’ But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today.” Remembering that all our blessings come from God, and being thankful at all times, will help our seeds bear fruit.
On Good Soil
The seeds that are sown on good ground are the ones that are sown with the understanding of who God is and that He wants to reward us and answer our prayers. They are seeds that are sown with the understanding that the trials we face are perfecting our faith so that we will never lack anything. And they are the seeds that we sow remembering that nothing is impossible for God, there are no circumstances that He can’t overcome, and it is through His power that we are blessed.
When we understand this parable and apply it to how we view our faith, and the seeds we sow in faith through our words and prayers, we will see that God blesses us abundantly. He will return to us thirty, sixty, and even a hundred-fold. Our seeds will bear much fruit and bring glory to Him when we continue sowing and looking for the good soil in our hearts.