Producing a Crop
“Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.” When he said this, he called out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” (Luke 8:8)
When the Word falls on the open heart of a hearer, it causes that person to produce external acts which manifest something tangible and obvious–actions that are done repeatedly and habitually. This, of course, is advantageous to others as well as to the hearer, always promoting the hearer’s welfare (whether the world deems it profitable or not). Obedience to God is always profitable.
Jesus gives us the meaning of this verse later in the chapter:
“But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.”
According to Jesus’ explanation of the parable, those who produce fruit for the kingdom of God are those that upon hearing the Word embrace it with obedience, possessing it with care and interest and persevering with endurance, patience, and consistency under sufferings in faith and duty with a tranquil mind. Does this not define the followers of Christ in Scripture? Think of the lives of Paul, Peter, and John. Scripture tells us:
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. (Romans 5:1-5)
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins. (2 Peter 1:3-9)
John tells us:
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
(1 John 5:1-5)
Take It to Heart
I think our attitude regarding our responsibilities of the grace and favor given to us for kingdom work could often be described as cavalier. Why is it that we are so apathetic? I am reminded of a question God posed to Haggai regarding the rebuilding of the temple:
Ask them, ‘Who of you is left who saw this house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? Does it not seem to you like nothing? But now be strong, O Zerubbabel,’ declares the LORD. ‘Be strong, O Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land,’ declares the LORD, ‘and work. For I am with you,’ declares the LORD Almighty. ‘This is what I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt. And my Spirit remains among you. Do not fear.’ (Haggai 2:2-5)