Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots, they died…As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away.
Matthew 13:5-6, 20-21
The parable of the seeds is the parable of all parables. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
Jesus used the parable of the seeds to warn us to pay attention to how we listen. This parable, like all of Jesus’ teachings, (ahem, like the whole Bible), contains deep spiritual truths that can only come through meditation over time. The seed personifies the truth; and the soil is our hearts.
Jesus spoke in parable for a specific reason: to hide His wisdom from the wisest of the world. Parables are heavenly code; only His Spirit can discern their meaning. They are more than mere words or visuals. Parables, like anything worth pursuing, are not seen in all their glory immediately. To be known in full, they require a passionate pursuit of the Holy Spirit’s perspective. We can’t understand them in our own understanding – the disciples sure didn’t.
Here are three lessons gleaned from just a bit of meditation on the meaning of the shallow soil:
1. Pay attention to how you listen.
If you read the Bible:
• for your own self interest (to get something from God),
• in a hurry, just to check your “quiet time” off your list,
• or, with the mindset that you’ve already got that good good soil…
I deplore you: read the passage again. There’s a rock under you.
2. If you don’t see evidence of God’s work right away, that’s a good thing.
When, two months after you started going back to church after your 10-year rebellion from the Lord, you suddenly find yourself falling in love (lust) with some guy, and you argue with your friends and family that the Lord told you that he’s your guy, but you hadn’t talked to the Lord in 10 years until two months ago….read the passage again.
In the Kingdom, good things take time. The Word needs time to root itself in the depths of who you are. The Word needs to change your desires. If, shortly after recommitting yourself to Christ, your worldly wishes start coming true, Christ is not the one giving them to you.
3. If you’ve been faithfully waiting on the Lord, REJOICE!
If you’ve been celibate for 4, 5, 6 years and the Lord has still kept you single – rejoice.
If you’ve been praying for your son’s salvation for 4, 5, 6 years and his eyes are still blinded – rejoice.
God will not answer give you what you want unless it’s what He wants when He wants it. And typically, it won’t happen right away. Because if it does, the sun will scorch it.
Time. Jesus values time. In this example, Jesus essentially teaches us that, if your spiritual growth is actually taking time…that’s a good thing.
Ezekiel 33:33-36 is one of my favorite little passages in the Bible. It goes a little something like this:
“‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: On the day I cleanse you from all your sins, I will resettle your towns, and the ruins will be rebuilt. The desolate land will be cultivated instead of lying desolate in the sight of all who pass through it. They will say, “This land that was laid waste has become like the garden of Eden; the cities that were lying in ruins, desolate and destroyed, are now fortified and inhabited.” Then the nations around you that remain will know that I the Lord have rebuilt what was destroyed and have replanted what was desolate. I the Lord have spoken, and I will do it.’”
If you let Him, God will orchestrate your story in a way that will bring Him the most glory. He’ll deliver you and restore you in His timing.
And it will bear fruit a hundred-fold – fruit that will last.