"Planting" Seeds in Your Soil !!!
“Planting” Seeds in Your Soil !!
Mark 4:2-8 [GW]
(Today’s lesson is lengthy; but please read all of it to get the lesson)
Mark Chapter 4 is one of my many favorite "Parables" that Jesus taught. As verse 2 says, "He used stories as examples to teach what He wanted us to learn. We are people who need pictures as illustrations to understand things in our natural “world“. We don’t think in terms of letters and characters like typing on this page; but in pictures and colors like a movie screen in our minds. We relate to our natural surroundings by sight of objects, as well as known knowledge. We are “visual“ by nature..
This is the well-known story of the 'Parable of the Sower'. To help illustrate this story, I can give you my experience from being married to a farmer.
I grew up in a small city, and knew nothing about planting seeds, or growing a garden. I had to learn everything by practical experience on the farm. Growing up at home, I only knew that everything I ate came in cans and packages from the grocery store. But those things had to start as seeds planted in fertile ground; then processed in factories and sold to us -- the consumer. Sure, I eventually realized vegetables grew in my neighbor’s garden; but I knew nothing about growing gardens. My parents always bought our food at the store.
I married a dairy farmer after I graduated from high school. (still happily married together after 37+ years). He milked about sixty cows every morning and night. He had to grow grain, hay, and corn to feed the cows, and every morning he‘d go gather the few eggs the hens laid in the chicken house.. He'd also grow potatoes as a 'cash crop'. That simply means, he would grow the potatoes to sell to the potato plant as additional income to support the farm expenses for the cows, and for living expenses, as well as for tractor maintenance and repairs. We sold the milk to a cheese factory near by. Farming is an 'ongoing' process through all kinds of weather, It never stops. The cows still needs milked every day through bitter cold, deep snow, or burning summer heat. We had to grow enough crop to stockpile so that we’d have enough feed for the cows, and have money for us to live on -- through the harsh winters when we couldn’t grow crops. During those winter months, we still had to milk the cows and feed them twice a day.
Every spring after the snow melted, it was time to get out that tractor, change the engine oil, and make sure the tractor was up and running. Hubby would attach the plow behind, and go plow the fields to break up the soil that had been frozen all winter. This was called ‘turning the soil‘. He'd then attach a different implement called a disc to break the big clogs the plow had turned up, and the disc broke it down to smooth dirt. He’d then get the fertilizer wagon that would spread the fertilizer into the soil to replenish what the soil had lost from the season before. After that was done, he attached another implement called a corrugater. This implement would move the soil into rows of mounded dirt so that they would make rows for the seed, and to hold the water between the planted rows of seed. We had to buy our seed from the Feed Store, and they’d often be pre-fertilized with special fertilizer to keep the bugs out of them. He then get out the “seed planter” and attach it to the tractor. He filled the seed bins (which it had 6 of those) with the type of seed he wanted to plant, and then he'd head to the field. The "planter" implement would plant the seed into the soil. After that was done. he then walked the ditches by putting ciphen tubes in the ditch water; prime them so that the water would come out the other end, and he'd lay the other end of the tube on the ground that would send the water rushing through the rows of dirt where the seed was planted. To prime the tubes, he would put the palm of his hand over one end of the slightly bent pipe and then shove the other end into the water, and release his palm from his end, That would cause the air inside the tube to ciphen the water up into the tube. He’d repeat the process until all the air inside the tube would draw the water through to start running out the other end, He’d then quickly lay the pipe on the ground with the water still flowing into the dirt row. The curved part of the pipe would be where it would lay across the side of the ditch. It was much like water running through our garden hose. There would be times he’d have to re-start them if they weren’t primed right. Then a few hours later, he’d have to go back and move them to the next rows and start the process all over again. This is called ‘ciphen tube irrigation“. These slightly bent tubes were about 3 feet in length, and he had hundreds of them to do!. I’d walk the ditches with him, and watch him set the tubes. It was hard work! When he wasn’t watering, he’d go through the fields between waterings’ and with a ‘cultivator’ to cultivate, or weed out the weeds from the good crops. With the grain fields, we couldn’t do that because we’d loose the crop. So we had to let the weeds grow with the crop until time of harvest, Then the “harvester” would separate the grain hulls, and the weeds would be all chopped up and fall back to the ground; but the grain seed would go into the hopper. We then would take the grain seed to the barn. We would put the grain through the “hammer mill”, which would smash the grain into flakes much like our dried oatmeal we eat. The cows loved their grain!!
I'd often follow behind him on the tractor, to the fields with the car in case he needed assistance. I'd watch as some of the spilled-over seed on the planter would bounce to the ground or onto the road as he went to the field, Those seeds naturally didn't produce crop because they weren't planted deep into the soil. They just grew into weeds along the side of the road, or wherever they landed. Some of the lossed seed would produce spindly crop; but they weren’t able to be used. We couldn't gather those, because they didn't produce the good crop that would feed the cows. They were considered "wild" or "volunteer" plants. Which simply means, they'd just do whatever they wanted, and if they didn't get watered by the summer rains, they'd die.
So it is in our lives. We are to "sow" seeds into good ground, so that they will produce a good harvest. It is a daily, on-going process. If we scatter seeds just wherever without proper soil; we wouldn’t produce any good crop. What are the kind of seeds are we to plant? What kind of soil do we plant them?
Just as there are different seeds to plant in our home gardens or in the farm fields; we have different kinds of seed. First, there is our "Tithe" seed, Second, there is our "Offering" seeds. Third, our "Do good" seeds, or our "loving others" seeds; then our "right words" seeds.
Our Tithing seed goes to our "Storehouse" -- our church.. Our "Church" is where we get fed the Word of God, and we are being trained to go out and teach others what we've learned. Just like the farmer preparing his soil to plant his seed, we also have to prepare our seed to plant in fertile soil. Tithing the Tithe is what we need to learn to do. It’s more than just plunking our “10 percent” into the Offering bucket as it goes by. We are to prepare it, and fertilize the ground so that when we “give” our Tithes; it is going into good fertile soil that is watered and ready to receive our “Seeds”. We pray the Word over our Tithe, and present it to God saying, “Father, here is our Tithe, which represents our increase. We place it in Your Hands, and we ask You to make it grow, so that it can be multiplied back to us according Malachi 3, and Luke 6. We believe we receive a hundred-fold harvest. We Praise You in Jesus’ Name, Amen” Or a similar prayer. This is preparing the seed, fertilizing and watering it with “The Word”. We then take it to our Storehouse, our plowed field, and plant it. Our Storehouse is where the Word is being taught and is full of God’s Presence and Power.
Our other ‘seeds’ is where we help others, doing good deeds, speaking words of joy, encouragement, and blessing to all of those in our daily “world” of influence. IF, we ignore others needs, turn our back on helping wherever we can; not doing what the Word teaches to do--- we are sowing seeds on the side of the road of life, and they do not produce any harvest; nor do they get watered. When we speak negative words, or speaking words of sickness, lack; we will harvest sickness, lack, and negative outcomes into our lives. That’s planting un-watered weed seeds. Those seeds produce after their own kind. If you plant words of sickness, you reap sickness. Tomatoes produce more tomatoes. Apples produces more apples, Words of doubt and unbelief produces sickness, depression, and woes. Words are seed, and they will produce after their own kind. This is the Law of Sowing and Reaping.
God has set before us “seed, time, and harvest”. We plant seeds, wait for them to mature “time”; and we harvest what we planted. It began in the Garden of Eden. Tithing was before the Mosaic Law, and it is still for us today. We have to plant, in order for us to multiply and produce our daily needs. We plant, God multiplies it, and we reap or harvest what we have planted; or sown.
This Parable Jesus is talking about; is our example of the kind of ‘seeds’ we produce, and where we plant them is solely dependent on us, and the words of our mouth. It is also for all of our natural “material” needs. It’s ongoing, it never stops. If we plant our seeds just tossing them anywhere, they are those seeds that fall on stony ground, or they produce weeds. But if we plant them in “good ground”: we will produce abundance, some 30, 60, or a hundred-fold. Which means… what we need in abundance, we will plant it in good soil, so that we can gain a great harvest. If we are careless in where we plant, what we say-- that’s what we will produce into our lives.
Be a good, faithful Sower, and plant your fields with God‘s Word, and be a Blessing in others‘ lives today.
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