Luke 8:15, NIV
“But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.”
Our Scripture for today is the last verse in the parable of the sower. This is, perhaps, one of the most well-known teachings of Jesus, in which he talks about four different types of ground onto which seed is scattered. The four different types of ground are the hard path on which the seed is trampled under foot, rocky ground in which it is not possible for the seed to take root, thorny ground in which the seed is choked by the thorns which grow up, and finally the good ground in which the seed grows well, and produces a good crop.
It is generally assumed that if the seed falls on good ground, it will automatically produce a good crop. But when Jesus applies this teaching to the lives of believers, he expands on what he means by good ground. It is not simply ground that will produce a good crop without any effort. But the ground of our lives, and there are three keys. Jesus tells us, for ensuring that here there really is going to be a good crop.
The three keys are simple – the first is obvious, hearing the word. Unless we actually hear the words that Jesus says we will never be able to apply them in our lives. And I believe that when Jesus is talking about hearing, He is not simply referring to the hearing by our physical ears of a sound, but to the understanding deep in our hearts with the ears of the spirit so that what He said becomes real in our lives.
Jesus then says that the seed on good soil also represents those who retain the word that has been heard. It is so easy to hear something and even understand it, but then to move on in life and forget it. The things that Jesus said, are so important that we need to make every endeavour to not only hear them but also to remember them. If we remember the teaching of Jesus and retain it in our hearts. It will then always be available for us to use and apply in the ongoing changing situations of life.
The first key is, therefore, hearing the word; the second key is retaining it; and the third key which Jesus gives us, for ensuring that there is a good crop in our own lives is perseverance. Perseverance implies that there will be a need to press on and through opposition. It is certainly true that whilst the rain and the sun are essential for the growth of natural seed, the elements of the weather can also make for a hostile environment for a young plant to be growing in. The world in which we live is a hostile spiritual environment and it is increasingly being felt by believers across the world that the opposition to the truth is increasing. It is vital, therefore, that we learn to persevere in the journey of faith for it is only then that we will see the full release of God’s blessing producing a good crop in and through our lives. Without using the third key of perseverance, so much of what we longed for in life could be lost.
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for the teaching that you have given us through the parables you told. Help me to not only hear the word and retain it in my heart, but also to persevere through all the difficulties and opposition I may experience in life, so that at the end of my days there will be a good crop. In Jesus`s name, Amen.