Think for a moment of the parable of the sower and his seed. This is a story which most (if not all) Christians are familiar with. The seed falls in four different locations, and in three cases it does not produce fruit for various reasons. Sunday school classes often teach this particular parable for its simple structure – it is easy to grasp, even at a young age. It is interesting, then, that we so readily forget it. If you are like me, you typically think of yourself as simply the “good ground” we read of in Matthew 13:8. This is altogether too easy a mindset for us to slip into – I’m saved; it’s all meaningless now. Nothing I do can merit my salvation, and it’s already been bought anyway. I’m good. Now I just have to find the best way to produce some fruit.
If we adopt this thinking, there is nothing here for us – this parable is totally meaningless. We would do well to consider ourselves in connection to the other kinds of soil. By nature, of course, we are the hard ground that the seeds are incapable of penetrating; we know this and are often willing to acknowledge it. But we are sometimes also the other soils as well. How often do we not make our faith overtly obvious in the best of times but then become mysteriously quiet in the face of trials? When we do so, we are the stony soil – there is precious little foundation there, and the sun blisters and withers anything that grows. When the seeds of offensive doctrine are sown to us by God’s Word, how do we react? Often, we are choked out from confessing them by the thorny old man. When the command comes to us to lead a new and godly life, the old man closes our throat with his thorny earthly pleasures and prevents us from speaking up in obedience. Instead, we continue to live lives of utter sinfulness, drinking, lusting, and lying as we did before.
Now acknowledging our shortcomings, we can consider our ultimate place – the soft soil. Remembering that is only by the Spirit’s continual work of sanctification in us that our inner thorns are more and more uprooted, we ought to turn to God in utter dependence and thanksgiving! However, now that the gospel is able to take root in our hearts, the work is not at an end. The plant must continue to grow and to produce fruit. What better way to cause this growth than the opportunity we have tomorrow morning? Enter into God’s house and worship Him. When you hear the Word preached, you will grow spiritually in the warmth that is the “Sun of righteousness” (Malachi 4:2). Jesus Christ, the living water, will enter into the roots of your faith and heart and rejuvenate you from your thirst after a long, sinful week. Only when we have the grace of God within us are we able to produce the fruit that He demands of us. If we fool ourselves into thinking that we can produce fruit of our own accord, we will find that we fail; it will be tainted by our self-righteous pride, and it will be rotten. This fruit is not pleasing to God – of such He says, “I will spue thee out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:16)! So, child of God, when you go to the house of God tomorrow, soak up the sunlight, and drink of His goodness!