I enjoyed some delicious New Jersey sweet corn last night. A lot of work went into getting that ear of corn to my table – someone prepared the field, someone planted the seed, another cultivated. Rain and sunshine came from God Himself, then there was the one who harvested it. I just ate it with gratefulness to all those who labored to provide me with that delectable bit of nourishment.
What is the harvest, the fruit of the Good News that is planted in your life? Jesus taught about 4 kinds of soils that represent possible responses to His Word. “Listen! 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. 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. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, multiplying thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times.” (Mark 4:3-8, NIV)
Some are hard-hearted.
Others hear eagerly, often in a time of desperation, but then do not cultivate the truth and the Truth does not grow.
Some let life get too full of other things and the Word Seed’s growth is stunted.
Some are like fertile rich soil where God’s Gospel produces a rich harvest that blesses them and others.
Jesus explained His story to the disciples who were puzzled by it. He said “The seed that fell on the hard path represents those who hear the message, but then Satan comes at once and takes it away from them. The rocky soil represents those who hear the message and receive it with joy. But like young plants in such soil, their roots don’t go very deep. At first they get along fine, but they wilt as soon as they have problems or are persecuted because they believe the word. The thorny ground represents those who hear and accept the Good News, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the cares of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for nice things, so no crop is produced. But the good soil represents those who hear and accept God’s message and produce a huge harvest—thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted.” (Mark 4:15-20, NLT)
That third warning stands out to me, a particularly applicable issue for our lives in this time. Christ’s goodness, the call of being His follower, can be supplanted by ‘cares,’ the worries of trying to deal with all the stresses of life. We who live in the world’s richest society are not above the ‘lure of wealth.’ Who among us does not believe at some level that life would be better if only we had more resources or that we would feel more secure if our bank account held more money? The wonderful Truth that we are God’s children, that our best life is not found in our stuff or our place can be lost in the noise of this present world that tells us we need more, bigger, better than we have.
Are you receiving the Gospel – the truth that Christ has reconciled you to your Creator and secured your eternal life – with joy, so that your life is full of God’s goodness? The Holy Spirit conceives the truth in us, a ‘once and done’ moment, in which new life, the gift of God, brings conversion. Jesus told an inquirer it was like being ‘born again.’ (John 3) It is also true that the Gospel is received each day, God’s life and love flourishing in us, making us people who grow a harvest of the Spirit – “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Galatians 5: 22)
When you find yourself confused by the cascade of words thrown at you, Christ Jesus remains True.
Trust Him. Anchor your life in Him, not in your own goodness, your morality, your achievements – but in Him.
Let the Seed grow to produce the harvest God intends in you.
Take some time to prayerfully meditate on these words of life, a word from the Word. “For this world is not our home; we are looking forward to our city in heaven, which is yet to come. With Jesus’ help, let us continually offer our sacrifice of praise to God by proclaiming the glory of his name. Don’t forget to do good and to share what you have with those in need, for such sacrifices are very pleasing to God.” (Hebrews 13:14-16, NLT)
How rich I am since Jesus came my way
Redeemed my soul and turned my night to day
How very rich how very rich I am
Such peace and joy I never knew before
And countless blessings from His boundless Store
How very rich how very rich I am
There’s a greater glory in a sunset
A brighter twinkle in a star
There’s much more promise in a rainbow
More music in a singing bird by far
All things have changed my eyes once blind can see
The whole wide world is now a symphony
And with all this Heav’n is my destiny
How rich I am
John W. Peterson