Galatians 6:7 provides with a simple truth of God for us: “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows, that he also will reap.” One does not even need to be a born-again Christian to understand the truth of this statement from God: we reap what we sow. Even the secular world knows this truth! If we sow corn seeds, we get corn; if we sow carrot seeds we get carrots; if we plant no seeds at all, we get mud.
This reminds me of the new young market gardener who had just bought 12 packets of seeds from a travelling seedsman. The young gardener planted the seeds in neat tidy rows and to make sure he would recognise the crop, he fixed the seed packets to sticks at the end of each row. A couple of months later he invited his father to come and visit and as his father approached the growing seedlings he complimented his son on a fine crop of carrots. He then enquired of his son as to why he had put pictures of other crops among the carrots. The son explained that the father was wrong – this was a mixed crop of 12 vegetables; that was, after all, what was on the seed packets. As he harvested a huge crop of 12 rows of carrots, the son realised that it is the seeds which determine the crop – not the pictures on the seed packets.
So too it is with us. We can call our character and actions anything we like; but the results we reap, will match the seed we have sown. Seed substitutes will just now work.
So too it is for us and the Kingdom of God. Mark 4:14 is very clear on this saying: “The sower sows the Word.” What is the “Word”? John 1:1 answers this question very clearly: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” “The Word” is the very Word of God. To grow God’s Kingdom, we must plant the Word of God. That is the seed, the only seed, which will result in Kingdom fruit.
We need to be very careful as Christians, not to change the seed we sow from The Word of God, into our own hand-made substitutes. Instead of passing out tracts of Scripture, we tend to modify Scripture and mould it into a seeker friendly message about the seed of God. Pastors, Ministers and Evangelists talk and talk about the Word of God, often without ever citing more than a single line of it in a 90 minute sermon. What is being planted is not the Word of God, but the word of man which is powerless to turn out a crop of Kingdom fruit. The more they teach and preach about the Word, instead of the Word, they are actually teaching their listeners that the Word is just too hard for them to understand. Now they should just come weekly and sit and be fed on their man-made, sugar coated, substitutes. After years of preaching and teaching the leaders then wonder why there is no fruit!. They wonder why there are no disciples; they wonder why there are only mature adult babies, waiting to be fed.
To plant the seeds is our God given job. After that, we, or others, water it, tend the ground and leave it for God to grow the seed. That is His job – growing the seed is God’s job – we cannot do it for him, we must not do it for him.
This is an important lesson for Christians to know and understand. Not because I say so, but because Jesus Himself says so! In Mark 4:3-8 Jesus gives a critically important lesson for all Christians as He says:
“Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it.
Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil.
And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away.
Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain.
And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.”
The King James Version of the Bible puts it more forcibly, as Jesus says “Listen and Understand!!” Listen and understand! That is what we are called to do. Listen and understand!
Jesus then went on to list out the four types of soil which the seed of the Word of God will fall upon:
The First soil is hard and unreceptive; when the seed lands it cannot penetrate the soil and is eaten by birds.
The Second soil is shallow; this represents the enthusiastic Christian who receives the Word and does nothing with it. Some seeds rot and some grow, but when persecution and hard times come, that seed is burn up in the heat of the moment, because the soil is too shallow to protect the roots.
The Third is thorn-infested; the recipient is more interested in worldly matters like money and success. These people say the right things when asked about Jesus, but they desire to rule their own lives, and not let Jesus rule for them.
The Fourth is good soil; the Christians who receive the seed of God’s Word and let it grow within them soon bear Kingdom fruit, 30x, 60x and 100x that which was planted. But these are my words. Let’s read what Jesus said as He explained this parable to His disciples in Mark 4:14-20
“The sower sows the word.
And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them.
And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy.
And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away.
And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.
But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.”
What is, or who are, the soil? The soil is the Church congregation of Christians who are receiving, or have received, the Word of God. Ask almost any pastor in almost any Church in Christendom if 20% of the Church attendees do 80% of the work. Ask about the “20:80 rule,” and it will be confirmed as a fact of life in every Church. We shouldn’t be surprised, for 2,000 years ago, Jesus predicted it! There are four types of soil, only one of which is good; a ratio of 25:75.
Just how productive does Jesus want us to be, indeed expect us to be? Well, when the Word is planted in good soil and is well watered and maintained, it produces 30x, 60x and 100x the initial crop. That translate into 3,000%, 6,000% and 10,000% returns. That is what Kingdom Seed can return in fruitfulness to the Kingdom. That is what God expects of us.
The Bible tells us what happens when we sow good seed on good soil. The Bible also tells us where to find good soil:
Bad People: “I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:32).
Poor People: “Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him?” (James 2:5).
Young People: “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3).
Searching People: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you”(Matthew 7:7).
Uneducated & Powerless People: “But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong” (First Corinthians 1:27).
The Untouchables: “God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God” (First Corinthians 1:28-29).
Similarly, God in His Word tells us who are poor soil:
Intellectuals, Influential and High Society People: ” For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth” (First Corinthians 1:26)
Moral People: “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:31-32).
Wealthy People: “How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the Kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God” (Luke 18:24-25).
The question is, what soil are you now?
Dear Heavenly Father,
I come before you as an acknowledging sinner. I humbly ask for the forgiveness of my sins as follows …………………………..
As I look at myself, I see that I am no longer good soil for Your Word. I pray Lord ,that you will now dig me over and prepare me to receive Your Word. Please remove out of my life, all the stones and lumps which stop your seed entering me. Where I am too shallow, please deepen me. Please root out all my ungodly unforgiveness, all my pride, all my worldly characteristics and remould me and reshape me, for Your use alone. Prepare me Lord, to produce a Kingdom crop for you.
Father, I offer my body as a living sacrifice for You and Your Kingdom. Please use me as You deem fit, for I willingly give You my will, and ask You now to lead me on the path of Your choosing.
Oh Lord, let me become good fruit bearing soil for You and Your Kingdom.
In the name of Jesus Christ I pray. Amen and Amen and Amen.
This article is built around ideas from Organic Church: Growing Faith Where Life Happens by Pastor Neil Cole. The 6x Good and 3x Bad Soil descriptions are taken directly from the book, though slightly modified.