THE SOWER AND THE SEED
THE SOWER AND THE SEED
Reading: Matthew 13:3-23
Jesus told His disciples many things in parables, saying: “Consider the sower who went out to sow. As he was sowing, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Others fell on rocky ground, where there wasn’t much soil, and they sprang up quickly since the soil wasn’t deep. But when the sun came up they were scorched, and since they had no root, they withered. Others fell among thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them. Still others fell on good ground and produced a crop: some 100, some 60, and some 30 times what was sown.” (Matt 13:3-8 [HCSB])
Whatever good seed or bad seed is planted in your mind (which is your garden), it will definitely germinate. When you expose your mind to evil thoughts, those evil thoughts get sown in your mind and they produce after their kind. Likewise, the good thoughts sown in you by words or images take root in your heart and get spoken by your mouth. “A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.” (Matthew 12:35)
The Sower of the good seed is the Son of Man while the sower of the bad seed is the devil. “He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.” (Matthew 13:37-39)
The good seed that falls on the pathway will be trodden by passersby or eaten by birds of the air or by squirrels. “When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.” (Matt 13:19 [KJV] You preach the word of God but unfortunately, it falls on deaf ears and the word of God does not abide in them and becomes unfruitful. Jesus likened the seed that fell on stony ground to a person who excitedly receives the word of God but because he or she is not well grounded in the word, when persecutions come, they backslide. Jesus then likened the seed that fell among thorns to that person who hears the word but the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word and he becomes unfruitful. “But he that received seed into the good ground is he that hears the word, and understands it; which also bears fruit, and brings forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.” (Matt 13:23 [KJV]) Seeds that fall (mark the fact that Jesus said that the seeds fell, not received by the soil) to the pathway or on stony ground or among thorns do not produce anything and they die there or get eaten by enemies of the seed. It is only the seed that is received by the good soil produces a harvest, much or little, but it is still a harvest all the same. As the word of God is sown in your heart, share it with others. Be like the Sea of Galilee which receives the fresh waters of River Jordan and passes them downstream so that those people living downstream can also enjoy the water.
Because of that action where the Sea of Galilee shares what it is given with those people living downstream, the sea is blessed with thousands of fish, fishing villages, towns and fishing industries. The story of the Sea of Galilee reminds me of another story I was told by a believer that, down there in the rural areas where tap water is a luxury of the few wealth people, lived a poor old woman who had a water tank that was collecting water during the rains for her use. She used to give out water freely to her neighbors so that the old water would be used up and fresh water replenished by rains. The more water she gave, the more God would provide for her by causing rain to fall in that area and her tank would be filled with fresh water by God through provision of rains.
Today, tourism is the most important economic activity around the Sea of Galilee. The entire Sea of Galilee is a popular holiday resort area. Thousands of pilgrims from all over the world come to be baptized there every year. Other economic activities include fishing in the lake and agriculture, particularly bananas plantations in the fertile belt of land surrounding it. Unfortunately, when the waters are poured into the Dead Sea, 141 km downstream, the sea keeps the water to itself and the water dies.
As you minister planting good seed to others, the Holy Spirit will be equipping you with His anointing so that you witness Christ in Jerusalem, Samaria, Judea and the outermost parts of the earth with power from on high. Jesus said that He shall commission us and give us His Holy Spirit so that we become His witnesses and be sowing the seeds of the kingdom of God to the uttermost parts of the earth. Jesus told His disciples that “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 [HCSB]) As you minister Christ, (Christ means the Anointed One and His Anointing), the anointing of the Holy Spirit will be poured and smeared on you so that as you preach Christ, you will be sowing in the kingdom of God and you will you will bring forth hundredfold, sixtyfold and thirtyfold of harvest. You will not only bring a good harvest to the Master but also unto yourself. If you abide in the Lord, you will bear much fruit or yield or harvest because His vineyard has all the vines you need and much more than you can even think or imagine. “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can you, except you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches: He that abides in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4-5 [KJV])
During the days of Moses, people used to visit God for fellowship and forgiveness in the temple or tabernacle, i.e Tent of Meeting where God had made His Sanctuary (Dwelling place) with some visiting the outer court, the priests would enter the Holy Place while the High Priest would enter the Holy of Holies. (Exod 25:8-9, Exodus 26:33) [KJV])
The Tabernacle was a two-fold design with an Outer Court of praise and an Inner Court of worship and it seems to have functioned in this way. The worshiper entered the Tabernacle through a Beautiful Gate. The Outer Court was the place of praise as psalms were chanted proclaiming the glory of God. It was also the place of repentance and humility as sins were confessed and hearts were humbled before God. In the first chamber of the Inner Court, called the Holy Place, the priests kept a Table of Shewbread (twelve loaves of bread placed every Sabbath in the Jewish Temple and eaten by the priests at the end of the week), representing the Presence and Word of God. There was also an Altar of Incense representing the prayers of the people of God and a Golden Lampstand to give light to the room. A heavy veil separated the two chambers of the Inner Court. The innermost room was the Holy of Holies, also called the Most Holy Place, containing the Ark of the Covenant with the Mercy Seat being God’s dwelling place and where, once a year, atonement was made for the sins of the nation.
Once people were in the Outer Court of the Tabernacle, they felt safe and close to God. Most people would stop there and would not aspire to be priests who had access to the Holy Place. Some people prefer to continue visiting the Outer Court of their church whenever they sin where they would come to offer a sacrifice, maybe a tithe, so that it would atone for their sins. A life of sinning and repenting year in year out for the rest of their lives. When you are in the Outer Court, you are of the church and of the world as you keep commuting between the ways of the world and back to church briefly on a Sunday for service. You can have some form of fellowship with God and your crop yield will be thirty fold because of the adverse effects of the scorching sun experienced by those in the Outer Court. How I wish that the thirty fold recipients would get fed up with average produce and desire to produce much fruit which they can get from God if they moved on and sought God where He may be found: in the Holy Place. The thirty fold recipients are the mediocre people who after getting saved are contented to remain there attending church and fellowships and longing to go to church every Sunday to listen to the word by the preacher as they expect to go to heaven one day. They do not desire to serve God like those priests who minister to God in the Holy Place because they are comfortable in the Outer Court and they are free to get out of the Tabernacle and go to the outside world and taste a bit of life; mingling with their friends, sinning a little and repenting and pretending to be holy while in church and while witnessing and giving their testimony of salvation. The Outer Court is a safe place for those who have no thirst for God, a comfort zone where they can conform to the systems of this world. Do such people ever consider themselves to have overstayed at that comfort zone long enough? Do they ever consider themselves to have stagnated at the Outer Court or same place or post or level for a long time? During the days of Moses, the Outer Court was full of people who came to offer their burnt sacrifices to God at the altar; some chasing their animals, tying them, trading the animals, feeding the animals as they waited for their turn to sacrifice their animals. In the Outer Court are men, women, children, priests, animals and even conmen. Leave the crowds and your friends and your peers in the Outer Court who are dragging you away from the Holy Place that is just a few steps from you. Common sense would help one to realize that overstaying at the Outer Court only makes the crowd more crowded. It makes little common sense to overstay at the Outer Court as the place is congested with the milling crowd full of idlers and pick pockets.
If you seek God in the Holy Place, you shall find Him, if you seek Him with all of your heart. Your seeds of faith and righteousness will be accepted by God as sacrifices in the Holy place as you plant them in His kingdom. You will then reap sixty fold as you shall be under the shadow of the Almighty. But you will not reap hundred fold as you keep interacting with those in the Outer Court or those outside the Tabernacle/temple and may be you might defile yourself by interacting with them. It is only the High Priest who is allowed to enter the Holy of Holies to be in the presence of the Lord. That high Priest symbolizes those sanctified by God for believing in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour of their lives. “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the One who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” (1Pet 2:9 [HCSB]) The High Priest who is allowed to enter the Holy of Holies symbolizes those who are made righteous by God and considered holy by God so that they can enter the Holy of Holies. “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.” (1 Peter 2:9)
It is only those who enter the Holy of Holies who can reap hundred fold (hundred times as much) because they are wrapped in the mercies and the anointing of God as they make their requests known to God. God will then abide in you and will enable you to bear much fruit.
As you seek Him, you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart. “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” (Jer 29:13 [KJV]) He will then make His dwelling in your heart as you become His Temple. “Don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.“(1Cor 6:19-20) [KJV] David said that “O God, you are my God; early will I seek you: my soul thirsts for you, my flesh longs for you in a dry and thirsty land, where there is no water.” (Ps 63:1 [KJV]) The flesh longs for God, the soul thirst for God and the spirit of man seeks for the Spirit of God. The Outer Court of the Moses Temple can be likened to the flesh, the Holy Place can be likened to the soul while the Holy of Holies can be likened to the spirit of man. Longing for God would therefore take one to the Outer court, thirsting takes one to the Holy Place while seeking leads one to the Holy of Holies. In the Holy of holies is where you get hundredfold of crop or yield or harvest. Hundred times as much as you planted. The secret is in seeking God. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matt 6:33 [KJV]) Hundred times to all the things you desire.
What are you planting into the kingdom of God? Expect a hundredfold return on whatever you plant whether it be words, faith, blessings, money, helping the needy or any other seed you plant because if you “Cast your bread upon the waters of the sea, you shall find it after many days.” It will come back to you after many days.