“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” Galatians 6:7
Spring has finally arrived – warmer weather, longer walks, brighter days, and blooming flowers. It’s a great time to witness God’s creativity. Yesterday, I read two parables on sowing and harvesting in Matthew 13 and it got me thinking a lot about the spiritual meaning of this season. You may be familiar with the parable of the sower, but just in case:
“Jesus 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 13:3-9
Jesus goes on to explain that the seed sown along the path represents anyone who hears the Word of God and does not understand it, so the devil comes and takes it out of their heart. The seed that falls on the rocky ground refers to someone who hears the Word gladly but because it isn’t rooted in faith, it cannot withstand doubt, trouble, or persecution. The seed that falls into the thorns is someone who hears the Word but it’s choked by the worries and cares of the world. Lastly, the seed which falls on good soil represents the one who hears the Word and understands it so that it bears fruit in their life.
I’ve read this parable multiple times but it only hit me yesterday that my life is made up of many different kinds of soil. I may be good soil when it comes to honouring my parents and thorny ground when I’m asked to forgive others. I have good intentions but the insecurities of this world prevent me from letting go completely. I could be rocky ground in terms of my trust towards God, I receive His words of love graciously but my faith is not strong enough to fight doubt. I imagine this is the case for most of us, there are areas we need to continue to till until they are transformed into the kind of soil that will produce a harvest.
Further, we are God’s partners in sowing and we often deceive ourselves into thinking that we have planted the right kind of seed. The parable of the weeds made me think about this. “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.” Matthew 13:24-25
What had really been sown only became clear when it was time for harvest. Every one of our actions, thoughts, words, relationships is a chance to sow fruit (which is life-giving sustenance) or allow the enemy to plant weeds (which usually rapidly destroys all other plants). In Galatians, Saint Paul says that a man will reap what he sows. I heard a story today told by Billy Graham. He saw a man crying and when people asked why he was weeping, someone responded that he was reaping. God is not mocked, says Saint Paul, a man will reap what he sows.
The good news is that we are given a choice even in times of regret over past mistakes. “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” 2 Cor. 7:10 Where does my sorrow over the weeds or poor kinds of soil in my life lead me? Make sure that sorrow always leads to repentance and renewing of the mind and strength through God’s mercy, love, and power. He gives me the ability to transform even the negative things I may be reaping into opportunities for growth. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
It’s the beginning of spring and as we watch the trees blossom let us carefully assess the state of our spiritual journey and make a plan that will enable us to reach the kind of fruitful harvest we are hoping for.