Summary: When it comes to yielding "fruits" for the Lord, not to settle for good or better output but to give the very best to Him, who gave His all for us!!!
Good, Better And The Best
Whenever, we have read the parable of the ‘Sower & the Seed’, I am sure we had always patted ourselves on the back saying that ‘I am a GOOD soil’ never giving thought to the fact that the good Lord wants His children to be ‘the BEST soil’.
We see this parable first recorded in the 13th chapter (verses 1-23) of Matthews’ gospel wherein our good Lord places before His audience & later before His disciples’ in much private circumstance the demerits of ‘bad’ types of soil on one hand & the merits of the good one on the other. Simply put, save the ‘good’ type of soil, the other kinds of soil are of no use to Him & His purposes’.
Whenever we have read or heard about this parable in the afore-mentioned portion or in Mark’s gospel (4:1-20) or in Luke’s gospel (8:1-15), many of us may not have either discerned the subtle difference nor noticed the progressive revelation vis-à-vis this parable. In a nutshell, Jesus’ words’ regarding the virtues of a ‘good man’ whose heart is compared to the ‘good soil’ is ‘not’ the same in all the Gospels!!!
Amazingly, the Holy Spirit’s work of progressive revelation would be visible only to those who pore over the words of Jesus’ in Matt 13:23,Mark 4:20 & Luke 8:15 rather than casually go through them as I am guilty of, sometimes. For starters, what does Jesus first say about the good ‘soils’ in all the 3 gospels? Are their yields alike? No! Some ‘good soils’ yield a 30 fold harvest, some a 60 fold & the apparently the best of the lot a hundred fold crop.
Yes, we are all guaranteed salvation & the eternal glories of Heaven the moment, we become Christians, that is the moment His word takes root in our lives but Bible pertinently states that even in Heaven, His servants would be distinguished into 3 categories –the called, the chosen & THE FAITHFUL ONES’- on the basis of the service, they render to Him down here on earth (Rev 17:14).
As we ‘dig’ deep into the ‘soil’ of God’s word, it becomes more & more clear that if a call ‘what type of soil are you’ is appropriate for the people still lost in darkness, then the clarion call ‘what type of good soil are you’ would be an apt challenge for people who have already come into the light of His saving grace.
Well, as a corollary to the afore-made statement a question arises, what then I need to do be the ‘best’ type of soil. In agrarian terms, what special agricultural techniques one needs to use to rise above the levels of mundane & reach the exalted levels of fertility & fruit bearing to the Lord? Let God’s word itself provide the answer to this question.
A picture of a person who yields a 30-fold harvest emerges in 13th chapter of Matthews’s gospel verse 23 as he is presented to us as a person who listens to God’s word. It may be in a church meeting or a revival meeting on a certain Christian subject such as helping orphans & widows or contributing to other worthy Christian causes. Here, you can stretch your imagination & take into account any God-honoring action. On the basis of his constant listening, he is surely charged-up & is in a position to inspire 30 more people to a particular desired course of action.
Well, what about the person who can produce a 60-fold harvest? In what way, is he different from the first one? A clear picture of him emerges in Marks gospel chapter 4:20, as he comes across as a person who not only merely listens to God’s word but also accepts it. By accepting, it means he does not straightaway go to influence others for the Lord after listening to God’s word, though he is inspired by it now. Rather, whatever is the suggested course of action, he first implements it himself & then by virtue of his own example, he inspires others. That is why he is able to produce the double impact.
Here too, we can stretch our imagination & apply this principle to any area of Christian life. It can be any God-honoring action, such as helping orphans & widows or contributing to missionary organizations, once a person does it himself, he has the moral authority to seek a similar action from others. Hence, the ‘double effect’.
Now, what about the special category of ‘Good soil’? What is so unique in this person that he is able to create more than a triple effect in relation to the first Christian? Again let God’s word do all the talking. In Luke’s gospel 8th chapter 15th verse this ‘faithful’ servant of God, is painted as one who not only listens to God’s word, as one who not only accepts it but also as a person who ‘perseveres’ in God’s word. One needs perseverance only when things are not going as per one’s liking. In a marathon race when ‘flesh’ pleads with the ‘spirit’ of the runner to let go of ‘it all’ & head for a pleasant shower, it is ‘perseverance’ which propels him from one agonizing mile to another. It is not an attribute, which may not make much of a sense to overweight joggers in the park.