Yesterday's scripture reference for our Sunday School Class at church was Mark, the fourth chapter. Even if you're not familiar with the passage reference you more than likely know fairly well the content of it. It's the parable of the sower and the seed.
In summary, Jesus tells of the sower casting the seed to be planted and comments on the disposition of the seed. Some lands on the hard ground to be carried off by creatures ; never having an opportunity to sprout. Some lands on rocky soil where it is unable to develop roots capable of sustaining it. Other falls in with the weeds resulting in the weeds draining the life out of the plant, so much so, that it is unable to produce fruit. Then finally, some finds itself in good soil and it flourishes and thrives.
Jesus stood in that picture as the sower, and those who share the message of His Gospel today are also sowers of the seed that is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Sunday we look at this parable closely and we discussed the ramifications of it in detail. I became fixated on one part of this parable more so than the other elements. Not because it's any more or less important than the rest of the lesson, only because from my experience considering this passage it seemed to be easy to miss the significance of the seed that falls among weeds.
And others are the ones on whom seed was sown among the thorns; these are the ones who have heard the word, but the worries and cares of the world the distractions of this age with its worldly pleasures, and the deceitfulness[and the false security or glamour of wealth or fame, and the passionate desires for all the other things creep in and choke out the word, and it becomes unfruitful.
Mark 4:18-19 (AMP)
What grabbed my interest was how common this describes so many Christians that surround themselves with so many diversions and concerns related to this world that chokes the life out of them. The light planted in them by the Savior is all but blocked out by the rubble they insist on incorporating in their life.
So much so, that they produce little if any fruit!
So then I found myself applying to this parable what the average gardener would do in the situation where his crop was threatened by weeds. He surely wouldn't waist time and resources to fortify the soil to enable the plants to survive alongside the weeds. No, he would find a means to eliminate the weeds while nurturing the plants. Thus transforming the less than productive environment into one that was productive.
You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. This is my command: Love each other.
John 15:16-17 (NLT)
Jesus intends on us producing fruit! He makes no bones about it, on this you can be certain. I'm sure that this was not something Jesus left to happenstance when he cursed the fig tree for not bearing fruit.
and he noticed a fig tree beside the road. He went over to see if there were any figs, but there were only leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” And immediately the fig tree withered up.
Matthew 21:19 (NLT)
The Word of the Gospel implanted in our hearts is put there by God so as to effect a profound change.
This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is bearing fruit everywhere by changing lives, just as it changed your lives from the day you first heard and understood the truth about God’s wonderful grace.
Colossians 1:6 (NLT)
We need to rid ourselves of the weeds that choke out our testimony and threatens the Light inside of us! Discarding them to the refuse pile they belong on. We need to be following Paul’s example.
Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith.
Philippians 3:8-9 (NLT)
It is only when we cast aside these distractions and focus on our Lord and Savior that we can fulfill the potential Christ has planned for us. We need to be faithful gardeners and focus on producing the fruit Jesus expects us to produce and sow always more seeds of His Gospel as we nurture our plants.
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.
Galatians 5:22-26 (NLT)