“Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed.”
We respect the authority of the Word of God as the rule for faith and life. But why do we have the impression sometimes that the Word of God does not yield as much fruit in our lives as it should?
With the Parable of the Sower, Jesus wants us to look into our hearts and lives. What are we doing with the Word that we have heard? This is important, for either the seed of the Word will take root in our life, or we will lose it completely.
“A farmer went out to sow…”: Jesus explains that God the Sower sows his Word (v. 14). Some of this seed fell along the path and was eaten by the birds. What will happen if you hear God’s Word but you don’t do anything with it? Never forget that Satan is right there when you hear the Word! And he will constantly try to prevent it from working in your heart.
You may hear the Word when it is read, but you don’t listen. Your heart is hard, like the path besides the farmer’s field. You may even go to church faithfully, but the message goes in one ear and out the other. The devil can use anything to prevent God’s Word from bearing fruit! Sleeping in church is one way. Or attending church only to please your parents, or your boyfriend or girlfriend. Perhaps your heart is filled with bitterness, anger, and unwillingness to forgive. Or you don’t want to give up a sinful life. Don’t give Satan the opportunity to take the Word out of your life altogether!
Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it didn’t have much soil. Not everyone refuses to receive God’s Word. Rather, some hear it and are excited about it. This news is wonderful: “In Jesus I have found
the response to all my questions!”
But be careful. If your faith is not much more than emotional enthusiasm, if the Word of God is not deeply rooted, it’ll be tough to preserve it in times of trouble. If you think that God’s Word guarantees you a successful and problem-free life, you’re in for a rude awakening.You may encounter persecution or other hardships. And you may say: “Does my faith do me any good? Is it worth the trouble?” Great excitement can easily turn into deep disappointment.
Ask yourself: Is my heart “soil” of enough depth so that God’s Word can take root, and develop, and bear real fruit, even in times of distress? Jesus urges you to receive God’s Word with firm trust in his faithfulness, so that you won’t give up and fall away when your faith requires sacrifice.
Other seed fell among the thorns. This seed started to grow, but it didn’t get enough room to develop, so the grain died, choked by the thorns. This is the person who says, “I am willing to believe the message of Christ, and I know it is important. But there are so many other interesting things to be busy with. I really don’t have much time to be busy with the Word of God.”
The question is: where is the love of your heart? You can be busy with many different things. But ifyou think that you are too busy to read, listen to, study, and meditate on God’s Word, one day you will find out that this Word is completely overgrown. It was “choked” by all those other things
God’s Holy Word requires the undivided love of your heart. Let it rule your life and all the things you do. Love the Word of God and rejoice in what it produces. For Jesus says that there is also good soil in which the Sower’s seed can grow and produce fruit. If you receive the Word of God in faith, and if you praise God and love his Word, you will see tremendous results.
So if you wonder why you don’t see many fruits of faith in your life, receive God’s Word with a believing heart. Give it the central place in your heart. Believe it as God’s own message for you and praise Him for it. Take care that you grow in love for this wonderful Word of life and that you get to know it better and better. If you do so, God’s Word will grow, increase, and produce an abundant harvest of love and compassion, thankfulness, and joy!
Rev. J. DeGelder is retired minister of the Flamborough Canadian Reformed Church in Ontario
Clarion, The Canadian Reformed magazine, Volume 58, Volume 19 p. 457 September 11, 2009