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Opinions of Sunday, 23 July 2017

Columnist: Dr. Daniel Gyebi

What are you doing with your seed?

Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ often spoke in parables. The Parable of the Sower was one of the few instances where Jesus explained a parable. Perhaps, the lesson of the parable is too important to be left to people’s imagination. His explanation suggests that the seed is the message of the Kingdom or the Word of God (Matthew 13:18-20).

Jesus could have simply told the people about the message of the Kingdom or the Word of God and the different scenarios whereby it is propagated. Instead, he used a seed. Therefore, we need to ask ourselves why Jesus used a seed to illustrate the message of the Kingdom of God. To help us, let’s examine some characteristics of a seed to learn why Jesus made it a good surrogate for the message of the Kingdom or the Word of God.

Seeds are fascinating objects. Their origin can be traced to the third day of creation. Before God created light, stars, animals, human beings, and some of the wonderful things, He created plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds (Genesis 1:11-12). The order of creation is understandable because the animals and human beings needed the seed-bearing plants and trees as food for their sustenance.

The following general characteristics of a seed may be helpful: a seed contains life; is relatively small compared to the underlying plant or tree; must be planted to reproduce or multiply; must be nurtured in order to survive and grow; reproduces or multiplies; and may take a long time to mature.

The Bible does not tell us about the type of seed the farmer was sowing, but it would be reasonable to assume that it was a small breed rather than a large one given the fact that the farmer was sowing by scattering or broadcasting as he or she went along, and the birds could pick and eat. This shows that the message of the Kingdom starts small and grows bigger and bigger.

The farmer’s seed was sown under four soil environments: along the path; on rocky places; among thorns; and on good soil. Jesus explained that the seed that was sown along the path represents the person who hears the message about the Kingdom, but does not understand it so the devil comes to snatch it from his or her heart. The seed sown on the rocky places represents the person who hears the message and receives it at once with joy. However, because the person has no root, he or she is unable to survive when trouble or persecution comes due to the Word, so he or she quickly falls away

The seed that was sown among the thorns represents the person who hears the Word, but the worries of life and deceitfulness of riches choke it and make the person unfruitful. The seed sown on good soil represents the person who hears the Word, understands it, and produces a crop yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times (Matthew 13: 18-23).

If you are a Christian, you are like the farmer with the seed, and the seed is the message of the Kingdom. That seed is planted in you probably because some time ago another Christian with the seed scattered it in your direction and you provided the good soil to receive it by the grace of God. What are you doing with your seed? Are you sowing the seed or hoarding it? A seed kept and not sown may wither and die; or may not be as productive. The more you sow your seed, the more you will experience growth in your own life and in the lives of your recipients.

A seed sown may not always yield immediate, positive results. However, the important thing is that the seed is sown well. It is God who takes care of the rest. In our Old Testament Scripture reading, we learned that Isaac was forty years old when he married Rebekah. Isaac prayed for Rebekah because she was barren. After 20 years of marriage, the Lord answered Isaac’s prayers and Rebekah gave birth to twin boys - Esau and Jacob. Esau, the older twin, sold his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of stew after Jacob demanded the birthright as the price for the stew.

Note that the seed of prayer offered by Isaac took 20 years to yield positive result. Isaac was the promised, covenant son through whom Abraham was to have many descendants to form a great nation on the promised land. If it took 25 years from the time God chose Abraham to the time Abraham had the promised son Isaac; and 20 years for Isaac to have his prayer answered, why are some of us too impatient to wait on the Lord for answers to our prayers? Continue to pray and don’t let the “now now people” sow a seed of doubt in you that the reason your prayers have not been answered now is that you do not have faith, as if their faith is greater than Abraham’s and Isaac’s who waited 25 years and 20 years, respectively, to have their prayers answered.

Ours is to plant the seed well for people to understand and leave the growth to God. As the Apostle Paul said, he planted, Apollos watered, but God made it grow (1 Corinthians 3:6). We should remember that a farmer who plants only a few seeds or plants sparingly will get a small crop, but the one who plants generously will get a generous crop (2 Corinthians 9:6).

It may take time – sometimes a very long time – but the seed we sow shall not be in vain. “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12). One day, you will be a witness to a miracle performed by God through you when the seed you sowed yields positive results and the person repents and accepts Jesus Christ as his or her personal savior. The miracle of repentance brings more joy to heaven (Luke 15:7).

If you are not a Christian, remember that Jesus Christ died for you. The message of the Kingdom is upon you. You have been privileged to know about a valuable, life-sustaining seed, which is the message of the Kingdom, that can be handled wisely to your maximum advantage. What are you doing with your seed? You can provide the soil environment that would determine the seed’s demise, survival, or growth in your personal life. You can choose to be the path, the rocky place, the thorn, or the good soil.

Jesus wants you to be the good soil so that the message of the Kingdom you have received can find a welcoming home to grow and produce a crop yielding hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. That means repentance and acceptance of Jesus Christ as your Lord and personal savior. You will have your name written in heaven and bring more joy to heaven.

Earlier on that same day that Jesus told the parable, he was talking to a different crowd of people when he received a message that his mother and brothers were waiting outside wanting to speak to him. He sent a message back that whoever does the will of his Father in heaven is his brother and sister and mother (Matthew 12:46-50).

Jesus Christ is giving us the opportunity to be part of his family. It all starts with the seed, the message of the Kingdom. And the message is that Jesus Christ died for our sins and those who believe in him, repent of their sins, and accept him as their Lord and personal savior, shall become part of Christ family and inherit the Kingdom of heaven.

The farmer had a seed, and he chose to sow it on the field. What are you doing with your seed? Sow it, scatter it, or spread it wide and well for people to understand. Those who have not heard the message will hear and repent of their sins and accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, so that they may produce a crop yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.

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