This morning I was planning to move on from the parable of the sower, as it has come to be known, but the Spirit is not releasing me from it this morning. The reason is simply because understanding it is vital for our service to Jesus. Too many of us are acting like rogue agents, doing what we want, where we want, when we want instead of being under the direction of the Holy Spirit. Our purpose in this life is to produce. The purpose of the Church is to produce. If we are not a producing people we have no legitimacy in Christ Jesus. In turn, if we are not producing we need to discover why.
It is not possible for us to live in the Word of God, to daily worship the living God, to spend time in prayer, to be baptized in the Spirit and remain spiritually infertile. If our walk is such that we are looking after our spiritual needs, the blessing of salvation becomes an overflow. Our love for Jesus, our passion causes us to be provoked to share the news about Jesus. In fact, we cannot help ourselves. It begins in the Word and as the Word comes alive in us through the Holy Spirit, it takes root and things begin to grow. It begins to grow and won't stop. Without the Word the Holy Spirit has nothing to work with in us because he will not operate outside of what it says.
In this parable Jesus explains several things:
First, we have to maintain a heart condition that will always be receptive to the seed. If we are not being taught by the Holy Spirit our hearts will remain closed to understanding. It's one thing to read the Word, it is another thing entirely to understand it. If we do not understand it, the enemy will be all too happy to come along and snatch it from us. We will remain unproductive. We have to remember that our purpose is reproduction. We cannot find spiritual satisfaction in only tending to our own spiritual needs; it is selfish and wrong.
Second, there are times when we are shallow in our understanding. In our stubbornness we refuse to allow the seed to send it's roots down deep. We want to live on the surface and not allow the Word to penetrate the deeper, perhaps darker places of our life. As soon as persecution hits our convictions disappear and we lose the opportunity to produce. We share the good news, people lash out against us and we run away. Often it is in our persistent demonstration of God's love that the Spirit is able to penetrate into dark lives. But without deep roots we run away in the face of opposition.We remain infertile and useless to the Kingdom. Worse, it is an indication that we ourselves are in trouble and should examine why we are afraid to allow the Word to penetrate to out depths.
Third, Jesus also spoke of a condition that most of us face because we have difficulty arriving at that place of complete trust in Jesus. We are suppose to have no ties to this world, nothing to distract us, nothing to hold us back. However, so many of us have such deep roots in this world that it becomes a priority over our mission, over our purpose. Where we are suppose to be allowing the seed to grow and flourish, producing other seeds so that there is an awesome harvest, we are instead allowing the thorns to choke it to death. The thorns are things that should not be in our life, such as worry and fear. Often a preoccupation with finances is a source of this but it is not the only source. You know the source of your worries and fears that choke your relationship with Jesus, that set limits on what you are willing to do, that hold you back so that you cannot have the freedom you need. Jesus told us that worry cannot be part of our life and that we are to trust that Dad looks after us because we are busy with the matters of the Kingdom. But are we busy with the matters of the Kingdom? Are we producing? Or are we looking busy while accomplishing nothing?
The heart that allows for the reproduction of spiritual things, where the blessing of salvation freely flows, is the heart that is prepared to receive and understand; that is open and vulnerable to the Word and Spirit; that has severed all ties to this world and has only one priority; that is willing to allow the Lord to produce a bountiful crop through it. Do we have such a heart? Do we have such a conviction? What are we producing in our lives? Are we with Jesus or against him? Are we gathering with him or are we scattering? Are we an instrument of reconciliation of God and man, or are we used of the enemy to divide?
Our desire, the pressing goal in our life, should be to see the lost coming to Jesus. We should have no greater desire than this. With such an urgency upon us we will see every opportunity, every opening that is given to us. It is not our church's responsibility to introduce people to Jesus; it is our responsibility, the Church, every single member of the Body, to spread the good news, to tell people about Jesus and to make disciples. There are no excuses; no, not one. We are not consumers because Jesus called us to produce for him. Where is your heart in this matter? Don't look to Africa or Asia or South America or any other exotic location to spread the Word. Your community, right where you are planted, needs to know Jesus. Your neighbour needs to know. Your spouse, your children, your parents, your brothers and sisters all need to know Jesus. Are you willing to receive today so that you may be used by the Lord to reproduce for the Kingdom?