Fruit Tree

Matthew 13: 23

And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.

We often talk about the thirty, sixty, and hundredfold return. One most commonly hears it in relationship to sowing seed into the Kingdom of God and in anticipation of the kind of harvest one can expect. God is in the multiplication business so everything we do with Him or for Him does get multiplied. Therefore, I have no problem with the use of this multiplier effect in relationship to seed money.

It is important, though, to realize that the context in which Jesus introduced this concept is in measuring the quantity of fruit you and I would produce. He has sown into our lives. What have we done with that seed? Is it producing a crop? How large a return is he reaping?

All week we have looked at the verses which lead up to this one. Jesus has shown us a variety of reactions people have to his Word seed. Finally, the seed has found good soil and produces a crop. There are two parts of today’s verse I would like to discuss; the good soil and the understanding. Let’s begin with good soil.

Most of us are generations from an agrarian past and therefore don’t know very much about farming and crops, but good soil doesn’t just happen. The Bible even taught about crop rotation and letting the ground lie fallow so that it could be restored. The nutrients in the soil are expended in growing crops. Therefore, it must be nurtured and restored. The same holds true of the soil of our heart. Living in this toxic environment uses up the nutrients in our heart so they must be replenished. How do you prepare your heart to receive Jesus’s Word seed? There are a number of things you can do. The two keys ones are Bible time and prayer. Those are essential nutrients. Let me add some others you might want to till into your soil. Meditation – I actually think of this as going with both Bible time and prayer. Meditatively read your Bible, pray in a meditative state but also take time to think about what you have read in your Bible. Roll around in your mind thoughts about what heaven is like or what Jesus’ life on earth looked like. Simply engage your wondering curiosity in imagining and considering ideas about the Bible, your Father, big-brother and the Holy Spirit.

Another way to prepare your soil is musing, pondering, day-dreaming. This is closely allied with meditation but go even further down the spectrum to just looking out the window and day-dreaming. Just let your mind relax and be at peace. God can use that time, and He does. Consider, also, the effect music has on your heart and play some uplifting, Christian tunes. Even recreation that involves Father can help restore balance to your heart. For example, I love to go bike riding but even more, I like to ride with my Father and Jesus. I talk with them, sing and just generally enjoy their presence. No matter how tired my body is afterwards, my spirit and heart are re-energized.

The second topic is understanding. Jesus said that the person with the good soil understands and therefore, produces a crop. It does not say, however, that he magically understands. In other words, sometimes understanding comes at a cost. Sometimes it involves effort. It is wonderful when revelation lights upon our mind and even a complex matter becomes plain and obvious. This, however, is not always the case. Mostly, this is not the case. The person who is producing thirty, sixty and hundred fold fruit is the one who is working that seed down deep into the soil. The precious seed is not being allowed to lie on the surface where birds and squirrels can pick it off. Then they water the seed. How do you do that? With prayer, study and meditation. Those who understand and thus bear fruit are those who spend time with what they have heard. Perhaps they took notes at church or at a conference and then look up all the scriptures when they get home. Maybe they buy the recording and listen to it again, and again. They might put those scriptures on index cards or maybe they look at the footnotes and look up all the other scriptures related to these. So, of course these people have gained understanding. Of course they bear fruit. They have worked for their revelation and it produces fruit in their lives and for the glory of God.

We’ve been told since we were children that everything of value requires work. Why do we think that now that we’ve met the maker that everything is simply going to rain out of the sky? It doesn’t work that way but . . . He is here to help us with everything and there is nothing He likes better than revealing Himself and His Word to us. So, if you are not daily finding some time to hang out with Him, do it. Don’t worry about it only being a short time, just make time. Take your Bible to class with you. What I mean by that is spend some time with the book. Put it on your phone and you can even read it while waiting for your doctor’s appointment or haircut.

Speaking of “cuts” there is no shortcut in becoming a fruit yielding Christian. You have to put in some time, but hanging out with the creator of heaven and earth isn’t such a bad way to work. And, His Word gives you revelation for a successful life. Prepare the soil of your heart so that you are ready to receive what God has to offer you and then water and nourish that precious seed. Then you will be that fruit tree which is firmly planted by fresh streams which produces thirty, sixty or hundred-fold.