Parable of the Sower: Hearing, Understanding and Producing

Earlier this week, I went through some notes that I wrote about what I learned from Matthew 13:1-23. As I read over my journal, I thought it would be a great idea to share what I learned with you. 

In this text, Jesus is telling a parable, or story, regarding the Parable of the Sower. The scriptures I want to deal with for a moment are in Matthew 13:1-9 and 18-23 like this in the New International Version: 

Matthew 13:1-9
That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.

Matthew 13:18-23
Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.

Jesus tells the multitude and the disciples this parable and goes on to explain the purpose of parables as well as the meaning of the parable of the sower. He points out four scenarios in which seed was sown but with different reactions and results. 
In the parable, some seeds fell by the wayside but birds came after it and devoured them.

Some other seeds fell on stony places, like gravel, and ended up being scorched by the sun. The seeds withered away because they had no root.

Some seeds fell among thorns but the thorns sprang up and choked them. 

But other seeds fell on good ground and produce a crop in great size!

Jesus explained between verses 18 – 23.

But look at verse 23 for a moment. We are told that those who HEARS the Word, UNDERSTANDS it will BEAR FRUIT or PRODUCES.

The term hears means “to receive news, to pay attention.”

The term understands means “to comprehend.” 

And Bears Fruit or PRODUCE means “to work, behave toward and cause to be.” 

We have to be in a place to receive the news and pay attention to what God is showing us. We must intelligently comprehend it and in turn we will produce and be productive in our walk in the Lord. 

Where are those seeds falling in your life? What kind of soil do you have?

Do you hear the Word but only get it on the surface but not deep down only for the enemy to talk you out of believing? 

Do you hear the Word but get more excited than committed, only to get depressed and discouraged again when trouble really hits?

Do you hear the Word but worry so much about wanting and desiring things that it chokes the truth of the Gospel in your life?

Or, do you hear the Word and it really soaks through the surface and into your heart and you become productive and bear much fruit as evidence of you hearing and understanding? 

I used to be very concered about being productive in the Kingdom of God and throughout my life. Those anxieties, however, are knocked down and taken out when time is spent with the Lord, seeking to understand and hear and grow in Him in order to bear fruit. 

The potential to grow and produce is great so long as you Hear, Understand God’s Word and put it into practice. In turn, you will bear fruit.

We Can Not Be Silent

 

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Earlier this week, I was feeling pretty quiet. Very quiet. As though I didn’t really have anything to say or contribute. It was one of those weird weeks.

But, then, I got encouraged.

One of my favorite Gospel songs as of late has been a Praise Break led by Kurt Carr entitled “Praise Break (Gimme Some Room So I Can Thank Him).”

I play this song ALL the time whenever I’m at home or work. It sets the tone for praise and worship at home and reminds me of what I’m responsible for as a Christian.

One of my favorite parts of the song is when the choir is singing “we can not be silent!”

And I thought about that for a moment. We Cannot Be Silent!

If you think about all the things that God has done for you and me, if you think about all that He has for you to do, if you think about everything going on in the world and in the culture, we can not afford to be silent.

With our praise and worship to Christ, we can not be silent.

When it comes to sharing the Gospel, we can not be silent.

When it comes to doing and saying the right things and encouraging one another, we can not be silent.

When it comes to speaking out on social and racial injustice, we can not be silent.

When it comes to our purpose and calling, we can not be silent.

When it comes to helping someone in need, we can not be silent.

When it comes to bullying, we can not be silent.

When it comes to abuse, we can not be silent.

When it comes to lives, we can not be silent.

We can not be silent!

Special Comment Regarding Charleston, SC Terror Attack

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So much has been said and could be said about the recent events in the past few weeks.

I thought about something elaborate I could do and say, something that would really stick to the minds and hearts of people.

But, before putting any of my thoughts onto paper or onto a blog, I had to work through how I was feeling about everything as well.

And that’s so, so hard, especially if you’re trying to be objective.

The truth is, I came to a conclusion that I, more than ever, can understand why people give up. I can understand now more than ever why some people have lost complete hope in humanity. I can see now why so many are so angry, so hurt and so upset and so confused and so alone and so frustrated.

More than ever in my life I actually get it. And it hurts.

So, as a writer, what should I say? Should I impart facts and figures you probably already know about, much less memorized? Should I give a long, drawn out “Facebook-like” opinion?

I think not. I’ll spare you of all that. I’ll spare you the opinions and the endless commentary.

More than ever, we need people to be more about good than evil, more about truth than fiction and more about life than death.

Why Do You Want!?

 One Saturday evening, I sat in my mentors backyard, listening to him and his explanation on why we “want” things that we don’t “need.”

My friend reminded me that God will supply our every need. He then challenged me with this question:

Why do we want what we don’t need? Why do people want the big house they can’t afford? Why do people want the nice, expensive car? Why do people want the job or position?

Then, he asked me?

“Kendal, why do you want a truck or a Land Rover!?”

I sat there for a moment. I said “because they are nice!”

He looked at me and said…”and what else?”

I said, realizing he saw right through me, “so I could feel great.” 

The answer that he gave me was because it symbolized what was missing in us. It symbolized our chasing after something that only Jesus can satisfy. It was symbolic of us desiring something that was already put into us and that we can tap into that without having something materialistic.
When we get something really nice and new, we feel great at the time. In that moment, we have feelings of joy and excitement and happiness.

Then…it wears off! We get bored with it. And, in some cases, that “want” for some becomes a burden on time, money and life itself.

Think of the person who buys all the cars, nice houses, go on expensive vacations and just live the “good” life, but are never truly happy. Think of the people who daydream about living luxurious but are never content with where they are and what they have.

I’m personally convinced that God wants us to have the very things that He desires for us! But that might not mean for me a Land Rover LR4 or a lifestyle of riches and fame. That stuff will pass away and is temporary. 

Matthew 6:33 – But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 


Jesus was saying before this text not to worry about what we eat, drink or our bodies! And yet, how often do we get consumed in worrying about what we want, much less what we need. We get consumed in anxiety and fear and frustration. In no time we find ourselves comparing our lives to others only to declare that our lives are meaningless. 

My friend finished his point, telling me that if I believe in Jesus, and I obey and follow His Word and seek Him daily, the effects I get from getting things I declared I wanted will be overpowered by the feelings and mindsets that I have for Christ and for the things of God!

The things I thought I wanted, become the things that really don’t matter. And the things that I need will be supplied by my God who I serve and will trust!