Seeds of Faith
Seeds of Faith
We all need to grow. It’s a biological fact.
Tammy and I’ve recently been looking through some old VHS tapes that we converted to DVDs, of our children when they were small. And it’s amazing how much growth and change has taken place over the years. Growth is really all about change, development, maturity. Growth and change is a necessary part of life. Everything, every organization, needs to grow and change and adapt to its environment… Because if it doesn’t grow and adapt and change, it dies. There’s no such thing as an organism that’s neither growing nor dying. Everything is doing one or the other…
And it’s especially true of our faith. Many times, I think even good Christians even fail to realize just how important spiritual growth is… We fail to acknowledge how important it is to grow in our understanding of Christ. We’ve somehow developed, or fostered the idea in the modern church, that once we have received forgiveness, and acknowledge the redemption of Christ, we’ve reached our goal. There’s nothing more to do.
That’s why there are so many preachers out there that only preach one sermon, matter what the scripture is about, “you’ve got to get saved.” For some reason we’ve allowed ourselves to believe that the only thing we have to do in order to be a good Christian is claim we believe in God.
But the fact of the matter is, the word of God makes it perfectly clear… Being forgiven and restored in Christ, is only the beginning of a life of faith. Just like planting seeds in the garden… if we’re not vigilant in tending to what’s planted... if we’re NOT growing and maturing... we’re dying... spiritually. Unless we’re moving ahead and growing in faith, we’re moving backwards. And, once we stop growing and maturing, we find our souls in danger.
Jesus’ parable of the Sower is all about growth. On the surface, it’s about the growth of seeds planted by rather messy farmer. But on a much deeper level, it’s about the spiritual growth God gives to those who trust in Christ, and dedicate their lives to Him.
And there’s no doubt that this parable is simple and straightforward. The disciples understood the surface meaning of this parable, even though they were mainly tax collectors and fisherman… They all understood the concept of how plants grow. I mean, think about it: they lived in a day and age with no Walmart, no Kroger, so they were all responsible for growing a certain percentage of the food that consumed every day. So they had no trouble understanding what Jesus was talking about.
But they did have questions about its spiritual meaning. Thankfully, Jesus explained it to his disciples… Because there’s no telling how many different interpretations would have today, if he hadn’t taken the time to explain.
Jesus said the different soils represented the different ways people receive the message of the gospel. The seeds themselves represent the message of the gospel and, of course, it’s the Holy Spirit who plants the gospel message in our hearts.
First, there are seeds that are sown long the path. The seeds that fell on the path represent those who hear the good news but refused to accept it. There are many people in this world, some very good people, some people we know in love, who’ve truly heard the message of the gospel of Christ. But for some reason they refuse to receive (accept) it, or to recognize its value for their life. And as a result, it never even begins to take root in their life.
Then we have the seeds that fell on the rocks. The seeds sown on the rocky ground, represent those who hear and accept the message of redemption, but when times get hard, they fall away. Of course, in the early church there were a lot of people like this. At a time with people were often killed for professing faith in Christ… They were given a choice between worshiping the emperor or dying… Many who hadn’t grown in faith would be willing to worship the emperor in order to save their necks. Their faith had not grown to the point where they could trust in Christ to be with them through times of trouble.
And today things are no different. People hear the good news of God‘s grace… They accept it with great joy. But they fail to let the roots of their faith grow deep enough to be nourished by the streams of living water. And when trial in trouble and heartache come… they haven’t developed a faith that strong enough to trust in God to see him through.
Next, we have the seeds that were sown among the weeds… Which represents those who hear the good news but the cares the world take over, and choke it out. I think most of us would agree that we’re surrounded with people like this. Because many in this world, have priorities that are out of order. They let the weeds… the things of this life that look like good grain… Like jobs, hobbies, or even necessary things, like food, clothing, shelter… these things take priority. They forget, we’re called to “seek first the Kingdom.” They keep pushing their relationship with God to the back burner. And eventually it just gets pushed off the stove.
Much like the seeds that fell on the rocks, the seeds that were sown among the weeds can’t reach the water of life. Not because they lack roots, but because too many other things are being cultivated in their lives that strangle out their faith before it gets to really grow and mature.
And then finally, we have the seeds that landed on the good soil... those who hear the word of God, and it produces fruit. They don’t just accept the word (or simply hear they word)... they do it! They nurture their relationship with God. They allow the good news of Christ to take root in their lives. And they nourish it thru the Living Waters of worship and Bible study and prayer. So it grows and it produces things like faith, peace, love, joy, patience, faithfulness, self-control. Their faith grows and it becomes a source of nourishment and stability in time of trouble.
I think Jesus said all of this, offering and explaining this parable… Because you and I must grow. We don’t have a choice. If we don’t grow spiritually, will die spiritually. It’s kind a like the old him says, “take time to be holy.“ You and I need to open our hearts and lives to the message of Christ, we need to cultivate it every way we possibly can, in order for the roots of our faith to reach the streams of living water that the spirit of God provides. We need to cherish and protect times of worship, and study, and prayer…
You know, all of us… Each and everyone of us… Has the ability to allow God‘s Word to penetrate our hearts and minds… All of us can be like the good soil… Producing fruit for the kingdom of God.
The only catch is, you have to want it. God‘s not gonna force it on you. You have to desire a deeper relationship with God, you have to seek God, with all of your heart, mind, soul, and strength. But, if you want it, if you long for the living Waters of Christ… You’ll find ways to cultivate the seeds of faith… no matter the cost.
If we cultivate those seeds, they’ll grow, and mature… they will forever change your life.