A seed contains a live plant embryo — a new baby plant, female and male plant cells having combined in the parent plant. The scientific description of this process is fascinating, to say the least.
In order for the baby plant to grow and break free of its container it needs light, water and oxygen, and soil in which to find those things. In Genesis chapter 1, God created the earth (soil), light, water and sky (oxygen) first, and separated the seas from dry land.
In 1:11, “Then God said, ‘Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.’ And it was so.”
The soil came complete with the necessary ingredients to produce vegetation. The life-forms God created inside the vegetation was self-sustaining and still is, to this day. Seeds planted in soil and provided with proper light, water and oxygen will grow into mature plants, which in turn produce more seeds.
This plant reproductive process is so similar to that of animals it is incredibly interesting to me. How someone can think this all happened randomly?!
Back to Luke 8. As I was reading, the Lord began expanding the story for me.
When the farmer sowed his seeds, he used the common broadcast method still used by many today. Some seeds fell on the pathway where they got trampled underfoot, maybe by the farmer’s own feet (although birds still managed to find and gobble them up).
Some seeds fell on rocks where there was little soil, thus little moisture. Although they sprouted, these seeds couldn’t put down roots and the poor things thirsted to death.
Other seeds fell among thorns, stronger and more aggressive plants which took most of the ingredients for survival away from the seeds. Those seeds both starved and thirsted to death.
Of course, the seeds that fell on the “good ground” survived, thrived and produced a crop. Jesus ended the parable with “He who has ears to hear, let him hear” – i.e., give this some serious thought.
What’s the moral of this story? When asked, Jesus patiently explained the parable. It’s not just the seeds… it’s the soil. Seeds = God’s word. Soil = men’s hearts.
Hard-packed dirt: hardened hearts. Rocky dirt: unstable hearts. Thorny dirt: troubled hearts. The seed is the same every time. But if the soil isn’t properly prepared, the seed can’t produce a proper crop.
In the early 1970’s my family bought a house in the country with a small farm attached. Willow Creek was nearby, and the first time there was a heavy rain for several days the creek overflowed, ran through the field nearest the house and almost to our front door. The water ran right across the top of the dirt – it was hard as cement. It hadn’t been cultivated in a long, long time.
The solution? My husband borrowed a tractor and a “middle buster” plow. He plowed the field several times, breaking up the hard ground to a good depth. The next rainstorm didn’t cause a flood. The soil acted as it should, the water soaked in, and when planted that vegetable garden produced enough butter beans, squash and tomatoes to feed an army.
The difference in both cases, the parable and our experience, was in the ground preparation. A good lesson for preachers and evangelists who wonder why they get such poor responses.
How the ground is properly prepared is a lesson for another day, but keep in mind who the Farmer is.