What’s your favorite fruit? And when is the best season for that fruit? My mom likes Rainier Cherries (the white cherries), but they have a really limited season. My favorite fruit is peaches. When they’re in season, I enjoy eating several a day with very great satisfaction. When they’re out of season, it’s a bummer because the peach flavor stuff is a poor substitute for the real thing.
Here in Colorado, we have a fully DELICIOUS peach called Palisade peaches. In my opinion, these are the Rolls Royce of peaches. But this year, they’re almost non-existent because of a late Spring freeze in April, which seems to befit this year of bizarre calamities. The freeze that decimated our Palisade peach crop made me think about Jesus’ parable of the Sower and the Seed.
In this parable, Jesus talks about four kinds of soil, a sower (farmer), and seed. Jesus helps His followers understand that the seed is God’s Word and the four kinds of soil represent various heart conditions that affect how fruitful God’s Word can be in our lives.
When we look at these four heart conditions, we can observe the possible conditions of our heart to consider how to be more fruitful and fulfilled in life. In the first heart condition, Satan steals the seed that is planted in these hearts. For the second heart condition, they eagerly receive God’s Word, but there’s no depth for the Word to sink into for nutrition, growth and fruitfulness. A third kind heart is overrun with weeds which Jesus explains to be worries, wealth and pleasures. The last heart condition is very fruitful. Jesus describes the action of this heart as holding fast to God’s Word with patience or endurance.
It’s helpful to understand that God’s Word has the same potential to be productive and fruitful regardless of the condition of one’s heart. The potential doesn’t change, but what activates the potential is the soil or heart where God’s Word lands. To this end, I need to pay attention so that I don’t allow Satan to steal the Word from my heart through doubt or deception. Additionally, it’s a good idea to cultivate depth in my heart, rather than thin soil, so that God’s Word can get absorbed into my perceptions and influence my decisions.
But what about the heart condition that’s weedy? Jesus tells us that the weeds in our heart are: worries (that makes sense because I’ve seen worry overtake or choke out God’s Word in my heart), riches and pleasure. How do riches and pleasure overrun the Word in our hearts? In my opinion, these can be strong and even overwhelming desires in our hearts that can choke out God’s Word, if we don’t let the Word have top priority. And the problem with going after riches and pleasure is the tendency to want more, such that they can be an elusive mirage. We would be wise to regulate our appetites for wealth and pleasure so they don’t control nor dominate our pursuits and priorities.
Finally, Jesus says that the “good and honest” heart, which is fruitful and productive holds onto or clings to God’s Word with patience. In Luke 8:15 of the New Living Translation, Jesus says that the fruitful heart represents “. . . honest, good-hearted people who hear God’s word, cling to it, and patiently produce a huge harvest.”
To this end, for God’s Word to be fruitful in our lives, we need to cling to it and be patient for the harvest. Even though we can go through difficult seasons, like the Spring freeze that hijacked my Palisade peaches, God’s Word can and will be fruitful in our lives. Let’s do three important things:
- Attend to the condition of our heart
- Hold tight onto the Word
- Be patient with the harvest