The Parable of the Ground

This is the continuation of the last post.

“A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop — a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

In this parable, Jesus emphasizes that the seed is not the problem. The gospel of the Kingdom is not the problem, but the ground. According to the parable above, statistically speaking, 1/4th of those who hear the gospel of the Kingdom will misunderstand it, or misinterpret it for church, or Christian business, or even heaven — somewhere far up there, unreachable at this moment. 1/4th of those who hear the gospel of the Kingdom will quickly accept it, run ahead and build shallow kingdoms that will wither away pre-matured. They will leave behind a “burned earth” where it will be impossible to sow Kingdom seeds anymore. The moment such a ground hears the word “Kingdom,” it shuts the door and shows a cold shoulder. 1/4th of those who hear the gospel of the Kingdom will choke the life out of the seeds that are sown through their never ending pessimistic, sarcastic comments, empty arguments, and useless debates of “what ifs” and “what if nots.” Such grounds are often visible in facebook and blog comments. Ego, fear, worries, doubts, jealousy, and the deception of riches and wealth, name and fame, literally kill the seeds of the gospel of the Kingdom of God.

Jesus, the Sower of Kingdom seeds, explains in the parable in Matthew 13:3-8 that only about 1/4th will understand the gospel of the Kingdom of God and will die thoroughly to ego to produce a crop that is multipliable. “Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed.” Kingdom seeds must die in order to have Kingdom growth. Dying is not cheap; it does not come easy. The seed cast to the ground is buried under dark, wet, and cold dirt. It remains hidden, away from spotlights and microphones. It begins to decay. No one knows, no one recognizes, and no one cares! It has to die to its Self, its image, its identity. And even when the time comes to present itself to the world, you don’t see it ever in its old form. It is no more a seed; it germinates. When everyone else is waiting to see it break forth out of the ground, it grows pushing downwards, taking deep roots first, to build a firm anchor to carry the truth and to withstand the weeds. Then the unimpressionable, (not to be taken seriously and easy to reject) vulnerable tender stalk sprouts. It has to survive the scorching heat, storms and hail, a hard period of growth. Sometime later, the head comes out, with hopes of multiplication — the full kernel in the head. And the same process repeats again. His Kingdom grows on earth. Kingdom seeds have the potential to produce a crop – a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.

Not everyone who says, “kingdom, kingdom” understands the Kingdom. Just like many who say, “Lord, Lord” also do not understand what that Lord says; otherwise they may eventually obey and do what that Lord says!

Jesus was born as a savior but he is to return as the acting King. While on earth, he preached the gospel of the Kingdom of God. To enter it, he says, requires a radical repentance. “Repent, for the Kingdom of God has come.” Repent means, stop doing what you have been doing so far, turn around and return to the orders of the King. Repent, because he is the King and we are not! Most of the King’s parables on the Kingdom of God do not end delicately but they end with fierce consequences. Repent…, “or else you will be thrown into a fiery furnace where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth!” The Kingdom of God is not a sphere where we can play our little games of kings and queens. We may play our own games in the churches, but not so in the Kingdom. In the churches, one can notice an awkward absence of sermons on repentance and obedience. Its the cheap grace and love, isn’t it? But listen to what Jesus says, “If you love me, you will obey my commandments” (Jn 14:15). And one of his commandments is, “Repent!”

Jesus never stopped scattering his Kingdom seeds. The question to answer is what ground are we?  If we are anything other than the good soil, we should know what to do.

A friend of mine posted this inspiring video on her facebook, I am sharing it here as an encouragement.

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