Teaching fifth grade science was enlightening for me. My unit on botany is a good example. Not only identifying parts of a plant, how they received nutrition and grew, but also the value of good soil. The kids loved it when I explained that good soil is made up of dead things: sticks, sand, minute rocks, decomposing animal and insect parts.
As we complete the Parable of the Sower we have to talk about death. Jesus explained that fruit would grow in good soil, full of dead stuff, but it would require a heart that hears God’s Word, understands it, accepts or clings to it with an honest heart and then, with patience, fruit will come. What a simple explanation and yet so many people leave out the dead stuff.
If our desire is to bear spiritual fruit then we have to die to some things. Time with God in His Word and prayer must take priority over sleeping in or reading our email. Participating in a small group or Bible Study must take precedence over other opportunities that occupy our time. Resisting temptation or sin can be hard, especially if you have some habits that are addictive but God promises to give you power to resist sin. Dying to ourselves may also include loving your enemy, blessing those who persecute you, or being generous when you’d rather keep the money for yourself. Death.
Soil may need fertilizer, soil enhancements, or other added nutrients to cause optimum growth. Therefore we add prayer, worship, kindness, compassion, forgiveness, I think you see where I’m going, to result in good soil. We also cannot let our soil grow fallow. That’s a field that’s been plowed but left unseeded during a growing season. This inactivity leaves uncultivated soil that’s dormant or idle. God desires to see us actively living for Him, kingdom living, whose yield is exponential.
Sometimes we think that ‘big’ means ‘doing it right’ but think about this; an average yield is 7.5 times the seed sown. Jesus said that if you maintained good soil you would yield 30, 60, or even 100 times. Thirty times is huge, however, you don’t decide the size of your harvest, God does. If you’re involved in ministry that’s fruitful but small in number, rejoice, in His sovereignty God has chosen a 30 for you. Maybe you’re involved in a ministry that’s a little bigger, a 60; be careful not to look down on a 30, both are designed by God.
I challenge you to be honest with yourself; did God’s Word get planted in your heart this week and it’s producing fruit? Are you experiencing love, joy, and peace regardless of your outward circumstances? Are you stronger in patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control (Gal. 5)? It’s a physical law of botany and a spiritual law of scripture: you will harvest what you plant in cultivated soil. Whether your yield is a 30, 60, or a 100: be content.