Tag Archives: parable of the sower

Empowering Growth

I’m nowhere near a professional gardener, but I do love planting a small garden each spring. There’s just something about tilling some earth, planting seeds, watering them, watching them grow and then enjoying the results. I’ve noticed though that sometimes my plants produce the minimum amount of vegetables while someone else brings in a bumper crop. Ive learned that there are a lot of variables that make them different. The soil is one of the greatest factors in how well the plants will do. It needs the right amount of vitamins and minerals for the plants I have to help them. There also the amount of water and sunlight they receive as well that will affect how they grow. The more I adjust these three things, the greater the more I can empower them to grow and produce.

As Christians, we’re not so different. Christianity is not just a one time event where we accept Jesus as our savior. It’s a lifetime of growth that comes after His seed is planted in our heart. In Matthew 13, Jesus told the parable where a sower scattered seeds among 4 different soils. Three out of four seeds sprouted, but only the ones in the seeds that were in good soil produced the crop he was looking for. The environment we’re in has a lot to do with our growth. Another thing we can do to empower our own growth is to stay watered in the Word of God. We can’t just live on the water we receive on Sundays. We must get watered daily. Finally, we must be exposed to the Son. Prayer is our time with the Son who causes us to be healthy and to grow. When these three things are consistent in our lives, we will not only grow, but produce fruit which is to create and empower other believers to grow.

Romans 15:2 says, “Our goal must be to empower others to do what is right and good for them, and to bring them into spiritual maturity” (TPT). Every one us need to have the goal of not just maturing ourselves, but to empower others to grow and produce as well. You have the power to create the atmosphere around you. Are your words and actions toward others creating an environment where others can grow? Are you fertilizing the seeds that have been planted in their heart? Does your life reflect the Son? Our goal should be to do these three things consistently. We need to make sure we are headed for maturity, and that we are empowering others to mature as well.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

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Scattering Seeds

One of my prayers this year has been, “Lord, help us to plant seeds in fertile soil so you can maximize the harvest.” If you’re like me, there are ministries all around you who need funding to keep doing what they’re doing. There are ministers and missionaries who require money to fulfill their calling. There are people who need your counseling and time to minister to them and to help get them through a rough patch. Whether it’s time or money, we only have a limited amount of it, and I want to be wise with where I spend either. I want what I give to make the greatest impact possible.

The idea for the prayer came from a parable jesus taught in Luke 8. He spoke of a farmer who scattered seeds all around. Some fell on the side of the path, some fell in the rocks, some fell among the thorn bushes and some in fertile soil. No matter where it fell, things happened that caused the seeds not to produce. Only the seeds planted in fertile soil were able to withstand the things that tried to prevent growth. But verse 15 said, “The seeds that fell in good soil stand for those who hear the message and retain it in a good and obedient heart, and they persist until they bear fruit” (GNT). I love that those seeds persisted through whatever came against them and reproduced more fruit.

You and I are like that farmer. We scatter seeds wherever we go through giving of our time, our resources and our money. I believe that we can have wisdom in where we scatter those seeds and that we can do things to help those seeds persist until they reproduce. A farmer doesn’t just scatter seeds. They water them, enrich the soil with nutrients and pull weeds around them. If we want to maximize the harvest, we need wisdom in how and where we spend our time and money. It’s God who gives the harvest, but He only does that when we give when and where He tells us because only He knows which soil is fertile.

Photo by Evie Shaffer on Unsplash

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Lasting Motivation

  
In a training class, I was recently taught that there are three basic motivations: compliance, identification, and internalization. As I learned more about them, it made me realize that many people approach Christian living using one of these three motivating factors. When I explain them, you will realize where you’ve been and where you fall now in these with your approach to living like Jesus. I’ll include the Parable of the Sower, from Matthew 13, to show the end result of each of these.

The first one, compliance, is where many people initially fall. The motivation is “Do it, or else!” There’s a constant threat living over you that if you don’t do it right, you’re done for. As long as you’re at church or church people, you live the way you should. When you’re away, you go back to how you want to live. Living like this is like the seeds that fell on the footpath. The birds came and ate them up. Trying to live a double life ends in failure. No one wants to try to live like Jesus if there’s a constant threat being held against them.

The second one, identification, is where you see someone else’s life, you identify with the end result, and you want to be like them to get their blessings. You’ll be motivated to do some things like join a small group, go to church on Wednesday, or even give your tithe, but what you’re missing is how to live that way consistently. To me, this is like the seed that fell in shallow soil. They sprout up quickly, but can easily wilt under the hot soon because they lack deep roots.

The third one, internalization, is where you take to heart what you hear and do whatever it takes so that the changes become who you are. This is the only one that produces long lasting change because it’s a change in your heart and mind. It’s like the seeds that fell on fertile soil. It will grow and reproduce thirty, sixty, and hundred times what was planted.

Your desire to follow Jesus shouldn’t be because you are afraid to go to hell. That will only last so long. It also shouldn’t be because you want the same blessings someone else has. When they don’t come quickly, you’ll give up. Your desire to follow Jesus should come because you met Him, want a relationship with Him, and will follow Him because of your love for Him. When you do that, your mind changes and so does your life. It’s what’s described in Romans 12:2, “Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect” (NLT). When you internalize what Jesus did for you, your life will reflect it in your living.

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