Farmers sow seeds and put a lot of work into their growth because they believe that they will reap abundant fruit. However, if the farmers don’t know how to cultivate the field and when to sow and when to reap, an abundant harvest can’t be expected no matter how diligently they make their efforts in raising them. The same applies to a Christian life. When we understand the law of sowing and reaping well and act according to the law, then we can receive answers and blessings. So, what should we do to become God’s true children and bear abundant fruit?
- We should cultivate our heart-fields to become good soil
A farmer should cultivate his field first before sowing seeds. No matter how rough and desolate the land is, if he cultivates it vigorously with sweat, it can be made good land with good soil. If the ground is hard, he has to plow it, loosen the soil and add fertilizer. If there are rocks, he should get rid of them and if there are thorns, he should pick them up. If he cultivates with his heart, the soil can be changed into good soil.
The same goes with our heart-fields. If we keep the commands in the Bible that tell us to ‘cast away’ and ‘not do’, our heart-fields are cultivated. Moreover, if we keep and practice the words telling us to do and to keep, spiritual fruit can be borne abundantly. Matthew chapter 13 records the analogy of the four fields that spiritually symbolize the hearts of men.
The first is the ‘roadside’. The roadside is very hard unlike the field because people always walk on it. If the seeds fall on the roadside, they cannot take root. Since they don’t get buried in the soil, they cannot sprout. Birds come and eat those seeds. The roadside symbolizes hardened hearts. It is the heart with which they cannot understand the Word of God, or believe it when they hear it. Even though they are shown evidences, they still doubt and don’t want to believe it.
The second kind of heart-field is ‘rocky soil’. If seeds fall on the rocky soil, they sprout but they don’t grow well due to the rocks. With this heart-field people know the Word of God as knowledge but deeds don’t follow because of their attachment to and love for the world. Because they don’t have assurance of faith and they still have untruths, they fall if trials and afflictions come. They say amen with fervor when they receive grace but when Satan works on them and they easily stumble and betray.
The third kind is the ‘thorny soil’. If seeds fall among the thistles and thorns, when the seeds come up they are choked by the thistles and thorns and no crop is yielded. With this heart, the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. They believe the Word of God and act according to it, but they don’t act perfectly in the Word. For example, they keep the Sabbath holy just to obey the Word to do so, but they still worry unceasingly about fleshly things such as housework, business, and workplace. Then, they are not able to worship in spirit and truth. Consequently, they can’t receive the fullness of God’s blessing.
The fourth kind of soil is the ‘good soil’. If seeds fall on this soil, they sprout, grow well and bear abundant fruit at thirty, sixty, and a hundred fold. People with the good soil do not use their own thoughts but just obey unconditionally with faith saying ‘Amen’. So, they can communicate with God all the time. They receive answers to whatever they pray for and live according to the will of God.
Even though we sow many seeds and care for them, we will not gain a satisfactory harvest compared to the amount of seeds we sow if the field does not have good soil. So, like the field, we first have to cultivate our heart-fields. Namely, we have to cast away sins and evil and purify and sanctify our hearts. Then, with the heart-field of good soil we’ve developed, we can bear abundant fruits of goodness, love, virtuous generosity, and gentleness.
- We should sow various seeds before God.
A farmer sows several kinds of seeds each in their season. There can be beans, read beans, and the seeds of radishes, cabbage, pumpkin, and the like. It is much the same spiritually. We have to both cultivate our hearts and at the same time sow seeds.
If we diligently pray to cast off hatred and sow the seeds of ‘love’, we can throw away hatred quickly and come to love others. It is much the same as we cultivate the field and come to have increasingly better soil. What we should know here is that just to cast off untruthful things in itself cannot be rewarded before God.
Then, what does it mean to sow? Obeying the Words in the Bible that tell us to do and keep things is the sowing that we must accomplish. The actions of keeping and practicing the words in the 66 books of the Bible such as to rejoice, to preach the gospel, keep the commandments, and keep the whole Sabbath holy are examples of spiritually sowing various seeds.
Just as a farmer sows seeds in hope and with belief that he will reap a bountiful harvest in autumn, we should sow with joy believing that God will give us overflowing blessings that are 30, 60, and 100 times what we’ve sown. When we sow with joy, not grudgingly or under compulsion, we can reap abundant fruit (2 Corinthians 9:7).
- We have to grow them with patience and dedication
A farmer provides water and fertilizer after planting seeds, pulls up weeds, drives away bugs, and grows the crop with patience. Without such toil, the plants wither at sprouting or while growing. They may also be damaged by diseases or insects before bearing fruit. Until they bear fruit the farmer must work diligently. Only then can he harvest abundant fruit. Then, what should we do so that the Word of God grows well in us and bears beautiful fruit?
First, we have to worship in spirit and truth during worship services. In other words, we offer up services with heart, mind, dedication, and love for God. Only then can we avoid idle thoughts, fatigue, and drowsiness. Not to mention that strength comes from heaven so we can communicate with God. Only when we realize the Word of God can we discover ourselves and grow spiritually.
Secondly, we should receive the fullness and inspiration of the Spirit through prayer and praise. No matter how great the faith one has, if a person doesn’t pray he can neither avoid trials and afflictions nor overcome Satan and the world. On the contrary, if we are always awake, cry out in prayer according to the Word of God, and give glory to God with prayer and praise with our hearts, then we can be inspired, influenced, communicate, and be filled by the Spirit.
Thirdly, we have to rejoice and give thanks in everything. Plants also grow well and are fresh when we grow them with joy and pleasure. In the same manner, only when we always rejoice and have gratefulness will Satan be driven away and cannot come near us.
Fourthly, we have to wait for the right time with patience. Timing in bearing fruit is different according to the kind of seed. In the same token, some ‘seeds’ we plant before God can quickly be borne as fruit, but others require longer time. So, Galatians 6:9 reads, “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.” If we grow the seed with patience in this way, we can bear the fruit of spiritual love, the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit, and the fruit of Beatitudes. It will also be the evidence of our love for God.
- For whatever a man sows, this he will also reap
When a farmer sows seeds, he will reap the fruit of the seeds. The same principle applies in spiritual law. Galatians 6:7-8 reads, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”
If we sow ‘prayer’, strength will come upon us from heaven. We can live by the Word of God and our souls will prosper. If we work and volunteer diligently, weakness will be driven away and we will become healthy. If we give financially of what we earn as tithes and thanks offerings, then financial blessing will come upon us and we can use it as we want for the kingdom and righteousness of God.
A prominent woman in Shunem served Elisha, the servant of God, with her heart. So, Elisha prayed to God for this woman and she was blessed to have a son although she hadn’t had a child for a very long time. Tabitha was abounding with deeds of kindness and charity which she continually did. She was blessed to be revived from death. That is, for whatever we sow, this we will reap. Thus, I urge you to cultivate your heart into good soil and sow various seeds. By doing so, I hope you will reap abundant fruit.