The gift of gardening is certainly an innate ability given by God.
I say this because that is a gift that I truly do not possess.
For those who know me well, they are able to testify to that.
Even the hardiest of all plants, the cacti, have died under my care.
In my enthusiasm to hydrate them, I must have drowned them in the process.
Today, I am certainly not going to teach you about the art of gardening, but we will be looking at a famous parable from the Bible which tells us about a different kind of gardening.
The Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13:1-23)
By Joanne Liaw Sook Ling (3rd Jun 2013)
Let me tell you a story which is no fable
It is known as the parable of the sower
The sower set out to a vast and open field
He scattered many seeds, not knowing what they'ld yield
Some seeds fell along the path and were devoured by
Merciless birds that swooped down swiftly from the sky
Other seeds fell on shallow soil with rocky ground
They grew but withered when the scorching sun shone down
Other seeds fell upon the soil of prickly thorns
Which grew up and choked the shoots that were newly born
The seeds that fell on the good soil produced healthy
Grains of a hundred fold, some sixty, some thirty
The disciples sought the guidance of their teacher
To shed some light on what they could not decipher
Jesus patiently explained to his disciples
The meaning of every soil in this parable
The seeds that were devoured by birds along the path
Are those who reject the Word stolen from their hearts
By the evil one who has lured many away
From believing that Jesus is the only way
As for the seeds that were sown on the rocky ground
Are those who initially rejoiced when they'd found
And received the gospel, but would soon fall away
When persecution for Jesus Christ came their way
The seeds that were sown among the thorns are people
Who hear the word but are choked by the cares, pleasures,
Wealth and other things that the world has to offer
They leave the faith and serve Jesus Christ no longer
However, the seeds sown on the good soil are those
Who truly trust in Christ as their faith in him grows
Stronger each day as they abound in their good deeds
For they listen to God's Word and follow his lead
Points for Reflection:
· Before we delve into the implications of each soil, what do you think the seed represents? The seed actually refers to the Word of God, the wonderful gospel of Jesus Christ.
· The various types of soil on the other hand, refer to human hearts and their differing responses when they hear or read God’s Word.
· There are four kinds of soil which Jesus talks about in this parable:
- Rocky Ground
- Thorny Soil
- Good Soil
“Hear then the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. (Matthew 13:18-19)
· Have you been rejecting the gospel just as the seeds that were sown along the pathway were snatched away by the evil one?
· Have you been refusing to accept Jesus as your Lord and Saviour even though your friends, relatives or your loved ones have been persistently sharing the gospel with you time after time?
· If so, then this is a solemn warning for those who reject the gospel because the only way to be saved from eternal death and judgment is by believing in Jesus’ atoning death on the cross.
Whoever believes in him [Jesus Christ] is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. (John 3:18)
· Come and put your trust in Jesus Christ before it is too late.
As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. (Matthew 13:20-21)
· Are you firmly rooted in the Word of God?
· You may call yourself a Christian but have you been grounding your faith in God’s Holy Word so that when tribulation comes, you will be able to stand up for Jesus instead of falling away?
But whoever denies me [Jesus Christ] before men, I [Jesus Christ] also will deny before my Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 10:33)
As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. (Matthew 13:22)
· What are the cares, pleasures, ambitions and riches of the world that are luring you away from Christ?
· Are you chasing after the things of this world but neglecting God’s kingdom? Be careful that you do not fall away but return to the Lord.
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. (Matthew 6:24)
As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.” (Matthew 13:23 ESV)
· For those whose hearts are burning brightly for Jesus Christ and his Word, continue persevering in the gospel and do not be disheartened when trials come but hold on to our loving God who promises to keep us trusting in him.
May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. (Colossians 1:11-12)
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. (James 1:12)
· Are you seeking to share the gospel with those who are lost and still in darkness? Have your evangelism efforts slowed down due to the disappointments or busyness of life? Do not give up proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ but continue asking God to enable you to bear abundant fruits for the kingdom of God.
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9)