Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.
Seeds are such a miraculous phenomenon in life. These small products of life exist in almost every form of life on earth. In plants, there are around a million different types of seeds in the world. Ranging from the Chia seeds of of Central America, West African Egusi seeds, Flax seeds, Jackfruit seeds, Lotus seeds and the list goes on. Seeds can be eaten raw at times, boiled, ground into powder or simply replanted to harvest a new crop. When holding a seed in your hand, it appears dead and lifeless, but understanding a seed from a scientific point of view, we see that the seed it is simply waiting for something to happen…
A seed is alive while it waits. Every acorn on the ground is just as alive as the three-hundred-year-old oak tree that towers over it. Neither the seed nor the old oak is growing; they are both just waiting. Their waiting differs, however, in that the seed is waiting to flourish while the tree is only waiting to die.
Jesus was so good at illustrating points that helped His disciples understand the difficult spiritual concepts He was trying to illustrate. The analogy of a seed falling into the ground and dying was to show not just the necessity of Jesus’ ministry and purpose on earth but to be a standard for those who wish to follow Him as well.
vs. 25 “He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”
These are difficult words to hear for someone who might just be hanging out, watching miracles and listening to good teaching. I can’t imagine the looks on the peoples faces when Jesus was illustrating a point that had such a spiritual connotation. I’ve met very few people who actually want to “lose their life”. I’ve heard people say they hate their life, but that is usually reflected in how they view their jobs, social life, or future prospects—I really don’t think Jesus was using this description for those purposes.
Hate by definition is to ‘dislike intensely or passionately’. This is the view we are to have of our life?
*Jesus wants us to lose our life to keep it, die to this world that we might live, move from darkness to light, from foolishness to being wise, from hopelessness to fixing our eyes on Him, He wants us to dissociate from this world and join a new Kingdom, to become citizens of a different place, a future time, an eternal mindset, to have peace.
*Whatever process, pattern, or position Jesus has asked us to follow, He has always led the way first.
John 12:26 “If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.“
To be honored by God is another thought that conjures up imagination. We don’t see people approaching God’s throne every day to be knighted, a feast to be thrown, or see a court cryer declaring a man’s new honored position. Heck, we don’t see that anywhere in the world in this day and age. Movies try to replicate these old standards but when we look at history, being honored by a king could be detrimental to your health.
David as a young boy had the single greatest moment of any kid in Israeli history—the slaying of Goliath. This event brought David to the forefront in Israels eyes and was the beginning of David ceding the throne from Saul. As David grew and became a man, his exploits continued and as we look into 1 Samuel, we begin to see how the honor that was given David was received by the king.
1 Samuel 18:5-7 “So David went out wherever Saul sent him, and behaved wisely. And Saul set him over the men of war, and he was accepted in the sight of all the people and also in the sight of Saul’s servants. Now it had happened as they were coming home, when David was returning from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women had come out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with joy, and with musical instruments. So the women sang as they danced, and said:
“Saul has slain his thousands,
And David his ten thousands.”
When a man begins to receive more honor than the king, that man should begin to grow wary.
vs. 8-9 “Then Saul was very angry, and the saying displeased him; and he said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed only thousands. Now what more can he have but the kingdom?” So Saul eyed David from that day forward.”
So it is with men, earthly kings differ than our God who is King. Men have a huge, underlying problem they carry with them in life—a sinful nature.
The sinful nature we inherited through Adam has been the corruption that needs to be remedied, hence the need to die. We cannot fix this corruption on our own, no manner of good works, nice gestures, kind deeds, or good thoughts will make an ounce of change to our nature. We have to be reborn to see our old nature die and to gain a new nature that brings life. As a seed that is planted in the ground, so we must go to our spiritual grave. We must die to all that separates us from Christ.
Our ambitions in life must now become aligned with God’s purposes, our relationships are built out of the love God has placed in our hearts, and our future is one of hopefully waiting to be joined with Him in Heaven. The standards by which we live must progress from the old way of living, (by our own morality and concepts of what is good), to God’s standard which is revealed in His Moral Law. The Moral Law is summarized in loving God and loving others, the details of how it is applied are realized in the small decisions we make in life and why we make them.
God’s standard of righteousness becomes our standard of living. Before we died, we lived for ourselves, when we are raised to new life, we live for Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.
Hebrews 12:1-2 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off every encumbrance and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with endurance the race set out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.“
Once we have been transformed by the power of Jesus, He then begins to supply us. The Spirit of God begins to manifest Himself in the life of a believer, He begins to transform their life from that of the world to one who reflects the Kingdom of God. As we bear fruit in our life, seed is produced. We are then called to plant the seeds of righteousness that were originally planted in us.
John 14:12 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.”
*We are called to go out into this world of death and plant life. The way we plant seeds of righteousness is through carrying on the ministry of Jesus.
2 Corinthians 9:10 “Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness,
As we go forth to plant seed, a parable of what that planting looks like was illustrated by Jesus. This parable has become of the greatest parables of all time.
Luke 8:4-8 “And when a great multitude had gathered, and they had come to Him from every city, He spoke by a parable: “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell by the wayside; and it was trampled down, and the birds of the air devoured it. Some fell on rock; and as soon as it sprang up, it withered away because it lacked moisture. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up with it and choked it. But others fell on good ground, sprang up, and yielded a crop a hundredfold.” When He had said these things He cried, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
Our responsibility as “Seed bearers”, is not to make the seed grow, it is to scatter the seed wherever the Lord has commanded us to scatter. We cannot get so caught up in whether the seed germinates, flourishes, or produces fruit that we think it has anything to do with our ability as farmers in God’s field. The Lord May use us in this process of preparing the soil of their hearts, watering the seed, removing weeds, or even in harvest, but it is all directed by the Lord and in the power of His Spirit.
Jesus explains the meaning to this parable in Luke.
vs. 11-15 “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away. Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity. But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.
Lessons from Jesus
- The seed we spread is the message of salvation.
- Those who hear this message are those whom are likened to soil.
- As the seed falls, the type of soil it falls on is reflective of the hearts of those who hear.
- If your heart is rocky it hasn’t been prepared for the seed. A farmer who prepares the field, removes the rocks as he turns up the soil. If the rocks remain, they choke out the seed that land there.
- The thorny ground are those who are still caught up in the world. They enjoy sin, their lives may be prosperous, they may even be content in where their lives are going. It can be very difficult to share the gospel with someone who thinks they don’t need the gospel. If they feel like they have everything they could ever want, “why mess up a ‘good’ thing?”, they say. Sin eventually reaches it’s inevitable conclusion, whether early in life or late in life, the hopelessness of a hedonistic life becomes more evident.
- The “Good ground” are those who have been prepared by the Lord to accept these words of life. The soil of their hearts is fertile. How is soil made fertile? Trials bring wisdom, they reveal the hollowness of a worldly mindset, they show the futility of the path of foolishness.
If you’ve been transformed by the power of God, if the seed of righteousness has been planted in your heart and your growing in new life, remember from where you’ve come. Don’t let yourself fall back into the mindset of this world and be overcome again by the futility of this thinking. As we grow, the Lord tends to us like a farmer tends to his vineyard. The Lord prunes out the dead limbs of pain, worldly thinking, reliance upon temporal things and even reliance on superficial relationships.
The Lord wants you to rely on Him!
Pruning can seem difficult for the moment but as a tree flourishes with a trimming of the branches, so will we flourish as the Lord pares down our lives into the form He so desires.
John 15:1-2 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.”
Know where your source of life comes from and draw from that source. The life that God supplies is endless. The Water that He gives springs forth into a newness that in turn flows from our souls. Eternity begins upon receiving this new life. Jesus said in John 3:3 “You must be born again”. If you have never experienced this new life, I encourage you, receive it today. It is never too late to begin.