Cultivating the Ground for God
As we enter into the middle of October, we find ourselves in a season of harvest and thanksgiving. Farmers are reaping the rewards of months of hard labour, as they bring in their crops to sell or to store in their barns for the winter months. During this time of year, I always think about the following spring, hoping that not only will the farmers be able to prepare the soil, but that the weather will cooperate to create a plentiful harvest for the following year. I am always amazed by the incredible work that has to be done to prepare the soil, for it to be a place that can turn a seed into a fruit, vegetable or another crop.
Some seasons, however, farmers lose their crops. Too much rain, not enough sun or poor preparation of the soil can take away the harvest and leave farmers empty-handed. They cannot see the fruit of their labour or prepare for the future, leaving them frustrated, lost and filled with worry and fear.
The Parable of the Sower
There is one parable in the Bible that I have read several times, but have taken for granted over the years. It is one that I have been reminded of again today, as the fall weather begins to settle in for good.
In Matthew 13:3-9 we are introduced to the story of the sower of seeds by Jesus. Jesus
“A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was sowing, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil. They sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun rose, the seedlings were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seeds fell among the thorns, which grew up and choked the seedlings. Still other seeds fell on good soil and produced a crop—a hundredfold, sixtyfold, or thirtyfold. He who has ears, let him hear.”
In this parable, Jesus is sharing two messages. I believe that one is intended for His disciples and the other is specifically for those who came to hear Him!
In the parable of the sower, we learn that the farmer went out to the field to sow his seed. Some of the seed that he planted, however, was wasted because He let it fall on ground that was not ready to accept it. Amongst the weeds, rocks, and birds, the seed had very little chance of reaching its potential. Even though the sower did the work, he never got his reward because he was planting the seed in unfit ground.
This is like sharing the Word of God with someone who is not prepared to hear it or cannot understand what is being shared with them. When the sower is trying to minister to others, the words fall on unfit ground. Even if the promises of God have a chance to sprout, the lack of a foundation causes people’s faith in Him to wither as they are unable to maintain their faith through times of difficulty.
This is why the disciples must meet others where they are and share the teachings of Jesus in a way that allows those who hear it to understand the love and grace that is waiting for them in a relationship with Christ! If the disciples preach and do not explain their teachings or nurture the seed that has been planted, those seeds will never grow.
The other message in this story is for everyone who has a relationship with God, or who are looking to enter into a deeper relationship with Him! If we do not fill our ground with nutrients, such as the Word of God, prayer, community, and forgiveness, we will lose sight of God. When we do focus on creating a good foundation in which the seed of God can grow, and protect that seed as it grows within us, we will be able to see the incredible works and promises of God in every part of our lives!
God wants us to be able to have a healthy and beautiful relationship with Him! We just need to let Him work in our hearts and prepare the ground for the amazing things that He has in store for us.
Is your ground ready to accept the Word of God? Are you sharing the promises of God in an understanding and compassionate way that will help others in their journey with Him? Ask yourself these questions today and allow God to work on your heart. He will give you a harvest so great, that it is hard to comprehend!