"The power of the seed" - that's a phrase I usually hear associated with "increase, prosperity, abundance, etc." I don't disagree with that. However, the danger is, the seed becomes a means to greed. When is "more" enough? I believe in "the more" because we need resources to implement answers, solutions, justice, healing, ideas, etc. Is there another reason why the seed is valuable?
In this parable, Jesus tells us "the Kingdom of God is like...". He says that a lot. He says it because He is bringing another way of being, thinking and living. He illustrates the Kingdom of God as a man sowing seed everywhere.
In Matthew 13, Mark 4 and Luke 8, Jesus tells a parable, central to understanding all parables (Mark 4:13) and it's about seeds, soil, and increase. The seed represents the message of the Kingdom. The soil represents the human heart. I want to grab this parable, like a jewel, and turn it and see if we can find something else that is equally valuable, beyond the "more" that is promised. I want us to experience the power of the seed from a different angle.
Some seeds fell on a path, birds ate the seeds and this represents the heart that cannot receive God's word. This the hard heart.
Some seeds fell on shallow soil. It was shallow and dry, and so when the seeds started to grow they withered because of the heat of persecution, trouble, and trials. This is the shallow heart.
Some seeds fell on soil which was "thorny" and while the seeds grew, they did not mature. They were choked out by the thorns, representing the deceitfulness of wealth, the desire for more things and the worries of this life. This is the distracted heart.
Some seeds fell on good soil and produced 30, 60 and 100 times more. This represents the heart that understands, receives and retains the seed, persevering through all things. This the good heart.
I would ask us to consider the power of the seed because the seed reveals the quality of the soil. Do we know the quality of the soil by the natural eye? Usually, yes, if we are talking literal soil, but Jesus is using a natural and common experience to illustrate a powerful spiritual truth. I can't see your heart. You can't see mine. This is reinforced by the Old Testament verse that says, "Man looks on the outside, but God looks at the heart." What we can see is the net result of God's word, the seed, being sown into hearts. If there is no increase, maturity and a spiritually and relationally reproductive life (called discipleship) then our heart is not the good heart. It's either the hard heart, the shallow heart, the distracted heart or some combination.
The power of the seed is this - it diagnosis the quality of our heart. The seed, God's word, is a wonderful and merciful gift from Jesus. As the gardener, He wants to improve the quality of our hearts by revealing our heart to us. Then, we can joyfully embrace repentance and confession. Not only will the seed diagnose, but it will reproduce. Genesis 1 tells us that God created vegetation to carry seeds so that it can reproduce after it's own kind. God wants a good heart because, a good heart with good seed produces and reproduces. We call this "making disciple-making disciples." This is how the Kingdom of God advances, one human heart at a time.
Take some time this week and read Matthew 13, Mark 4 and/or Luke 8. Ask Holy Spirit to search your heart. Repent, if necessary. Celebrate, when appropriate. The "abundant life" we want is found in the quality of our heart and the receptivity of the seed.