July 8, 2011
I grew up on a farm. We didn’t just live on a farm; my daddy was actually a farmer who grew crops on the farm. So I know a little bit about ground. Both good ground and bad ground.
I would say that most of his work consisted of preparing the ground to receive the seeds. He did everything he could do to make that ground, good ground. If he did a good job and was successful in creating good ground, then when the seeds were planted the crop would grow well with minimum effort and the harvest would be abundant.
We have all tried to grow something of our own, whether it was a small flower garden, vegetable garden or even grass seed in a paper cup to make it look like hair. So, we have all had our own experience with good or bad ground.
I like hydrangeas. They are pretty hardy for the most part and will grow in about any kind of soil given the right light and water. But one of the coolest things about them is that they will tell you when they bloom what kind of soil they are in. If they are in acidic soil the blooms will be blue, neutral soils produce very pale cream petals, and alkaline soils result in pink or purple. Now this is the same plant but when planted in different soil produces different results.
For years I’ve read the parable of the sower. It is in 3 of the 4 gospels which tells me it must be a very important principle for us to learn. I’ve heard dozens of teachings and sermons on this parable through the years. But most have been about whether we are the path or in the thorns. We try to evaluate ourselves to see which example most describes us. We all hopefully want to be good ground or soil.
1 He began to teach again by the sea. And such a very large crowd gathered to Him that He got into a boat in the sea and sat down; and the whole crowd was by the sea on the land. 2 And He was teaching them many things in parables, and was saying to them in His teaching, 3 “Listen to this! Behold, the sower went out to sow; 4 as he was sowing, some seed fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 “Other seed fell on the rocky ground where it did not have much soil; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of soil. 6 “And after the sun had risen, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. 7 “Other seed fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked it, and it yielded no crop. 8 “Other seeds fell into the good soil, and as they grew up and increased, they yielded a crop and produced thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.” 9 And He was saying, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
10 As soon as He was alone, His followers, along with the twelve, began asking Him about the parables. 11 And He was saying to them, “To you has been given the mystery of the kingdom of God, but those who are outside get everything in parables, 12 so that while seeing, they may see and not perceive, and while hearing, they may hear and not understand, otherwise they might return and be forgiven.” CLICK HERE TO READ IN FULL CONTEXT
But I began wondering awhile back, just what constitutes good soil for the gospel? I began to read every account of this parable and Jesus’ explanation in every translation that I could find. Then I found what I felt to be the most accurate usage of words. It was Mark 4:20 where Jesus explains the parable to the disciples. The translation is from the New International Version but many versions have almost the exact same wording.
13 Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? 14 The farmer sows the word. 15 Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. 16 Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. 17 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 18 Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. 20 Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.” All emphasis mine. CLICK HERE TO READ IN FULL CONTEXT
In the King James the word, accept is instead received, but in the Greek that word is paradechontai which means accept.
I began to ponder and meditate on this prayerfully. Every Sunday there are thousands of people attending a church service, even millions worldwide. They are there listening receiving the word, but they walk out the way they came in, unchanged.
I’ve come in contact with so many people who you begin talking to or sharing something in the word of God with and they shut down, clam up and begin to resist what you are sharing. I’m not just talking about non-Christians, but people who have professed to be a Christian for years. They don’t accept what you or the Word is saying.
They begin shaking their head and resist what you have to say no matter what scriptures you are showing them. They are un-teachable. Their grandmother always said… their church’s doctrine believes… that is not what they experienced… and the list goes on.
There is not one person on the face of the earth who knows everything there is to know about the Word of God. No matter how long or hard you have studied, God will continually unveil another layer, another truth that you did not previously see.
So what is good ground for the Word? Those who hear the Word and ACCEPT it no matter what doctrine it goes against, no matter who taught you different, no matter what your experience has been.
I believe that the spiritual fruit I’ve harvested in my life, the 30, 60 and 100 hundred fold has been because I’ve had an open mind to be teachable and a hunger for the truth no matter how unpopular it may be or how hard to swallow. I’m still learning each and every day. I still hear His voice clarifying and teaching as I read His word.
Our lives WILL reflect how we have accepted the Word in our lives. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. But for these fruits to grow in our lives the Word must be planted in good ground receiving and accepting the Word of God. It is by no accident that these traits are called fruit. Fruit that must be planted and grown in good ground.
22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! CLICK HERE TO READ IN FULL CONTEXT
Many times we ourselves try to exhibit these traits. Because we know this is how we should be, but it is a constant struggle to be the way we know we should be. But it is only through hearing the Word, receiving and accepting the Word that these traits will take root in that good ground and begin to grow on their own. That is true transformation. That is when it becomes our true character.
When push comes to shove our true nature will be revealed. Just like the hydrangea, the kind of ground we are will be revealed by the fruits or blossoms of our plants. If we are just trying to exhibit these traits, when the trials of life or adversity come, our true untransformed self will be revealed. We just can’t keep the façade up under pressure.
God does not want us to try to exhibit these traits. He wants us to be good ground accepting the Word so that it can take root in our lives and grow and flourish producing a progressive harvest of 30 then 60 then 100 fold. He wants us to be transformed by the washing of the water of the Word.
1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. CLICK HERE TO READ IN FULL CONTEXT
If God says it, accept and believe it willingly at face value with no pre-conceived notions, doctrines or prejudices. Study with a sincere desire to know the truth and He will reveal its truth and that truth will transform your life.