Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: "Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Let anyone with ears listen!"
Every living thing begins from a seed. The word of God is sown in the heart like a seed.
Let’s follow this metaphor of seed a little way. Many seeds require a resting period after falling from the parent plant before they are able to germinate into new plants. Chemical changes take place during this period, making the seed ready for germination. Germination does not take place unless the seed finds itself in a favourable environment. The conditions of a favourable environment are adequate water and oxygen, and a suitable temperature. When these conditions are not present, the seed is prepared to wait….and wait. Seeds found in the excavations at Pompeii, dating from 79 AD, grew when they were placed in the right conditions by scientists.
After Paul had a spiritual experience on the road to Damascus he went off to Arabia. “I did not confer with any human being, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were already apostles before me, but I went away at once into Arabia….” (Gal 1:17-18). This, we can suppose, was a kind of resting period during which the new seed of faith developed to its next stage in him. Then after three years he went up to Jerusalem to visit Peter, and stayed with him fifteen days. After this brief period of germination, his faith was a vigorous plant. He was rich soil and the plant so vigorous that he was able to survive the harshest conditions. Just how harsh these were he described in 2 Cor. 11:24-28.
If our hearts are not soft soil, but hard and stony, the seed of faith lies dormant forever.
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