“He told them many things in parables, saying, “Listen carefully: a sower went out to sow [seed in his field]; and as he sowed, some seed fell on rocky ground,, where they did not have much soil; and at once they sprang up because they had no depth of soil. But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. Other seed fell among thorns, and thorns came up and choked them out. Other seed fell on good soil and yielded grain, some a hundred times as much as was sown, some sixty times as much, and some thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear and heed My words.” (Matthew 13:3-9 AMP)
“And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands and grasps it; he indeed bears fruit and yields, some a hundred times as much as was sown, some sixty times as much and some thirty.” (Matthew 13:23 AMP)
I’ve often wondered about the hundred-, sixty- and thirty-fold returns on the seed that was sown. It’s the same seed. It came from the same bag. It was sown equally in the field. Why the variance in yields? It is the quality of the soil that makes the difference. I’m not talking about the rocky soil or the thorny ground. That was just scatter, it wasn’t purposefully sown there. Why would someone purposefully sow on the ground they KNOW won’t bear fruit? The soil must be prepared and ready to accept the seed before any produce can come from it.
Jesus is talking specifically to the fertile soil on how much fruit is born. Notice it’s not any kind of condemnation for the differences. It’s all gathered into the Sower’s barns. It is handled the same way. No difference in appreciation either. The Sower is glad to have so much return on his investment. What makes the ground produce thirty, sixty, and a hundred-fold?
It is the richness of the soil that makes the difference. Soils that are depleted aren’t going to yield as much as the richer soils. Soils that are enriched with fertilizer each year will produce more than the depleted soils. Yet, there is a soil that is so enriched it yields a hundred-fold every time…this soil is volcanic soil. This soil is born out of destruction, chaos, and devastation and the result is the most fertile soil around.
The soil represents the heart as Jesus said and we know about the rocky heart and the thorny heart, but let’s differentiate the fertile soil heart. What heart condition brings a hundred-fold harvest? The answer is this: the closer your relationship with the LORD is, the more fruit you are going to bear. The richer the “soil” of your heart will be because of this close relationship. Rich soil MUST have at its core an intimate relationship with God. No matter the yield: thirty or sixty or a hundred—the soil of the heart must be fastened to Jesus wholeheartedly.
The heart with “volcanic” soil is the richest and most fertile because the closer we walk with God, the more obedient we will be, and the more Satan is going to attack with various things. Sold-out for God people have a huge target on their back and they are buffeted by the enemy everywhere they turn. God is always looking for obedient hearts and those who are willing to do whatever He asks them to do. It is these people whose lives tell a story of many sacrifices for the Kingdom of God. They are hugely profitable to God, but that doesn’t mean the sixty-fold and the thirty-fold aren’t just as valued. Isn’t God good? He’s perfectly happy with those who are at that level. Let’s look at a few people from the Bible whose lives were the most fertile soil for God to do great exploits through.
- Enoch ~ The Bible says that Enoch “walked habitually with God.” He made God the number one priority of his life. The book of Jasher tells more details about Enoch’s life and it says that he “ministered to the LORD” year after year in his secret place. He completely let go of the cares of the world and the pride of life to pursue a face-to-face relationship with Yahweh, the Creator God. The Book of Jasher says that Enoch “withdrew from the sons of men.” It could be that because of the wickedness in the pre-flood era, that he was persecuted and not able to make a difference in their society. He didn’t know God well enough to make a difference. He made the decision to pursue God wholeheartedly and after many years, Jasher tells us that God poured Wisdom into Enoch and then had him go back out to teach men righteousness. Finally, he was bearing much fruit for God because kings from everywhere came to hear Enoch teach about God’s righteousness.
- Moses ~ The Bible says that God spoke to Moses face-to-face like a man speaks to his friend. But Moses was born in adversity. He was slated for death as an infant and God saved him. He was driven into the wilderness for forty years and God met him there and called him to free the Israelites from bondage. He demonstrated God’s power to the Egyptians and led a rebellious people forty years in the wilderness. He faced insurrections, rejections, and rebellions during this time and all the while he got closer and closer to God to the point where God’s glory made his face shine and was too bright for the people to bear. Yet for all that, he was denied entry into the promised land for one act of disobedience. He knew pain. He was familiar with hardships and loneliness and yet Yahweh’s presence was always there with him. Moses gave Israel the Law. Moses led them straight to the Jordan river at the appointed time. Moses passed the mantle of leadership to Joshua obediently. His heart soil was rich indeed and God did so much through him. Moses was called My servant, by God. A true honor in God’s kingdom because it is the SERVANTS who are the greatest according to Jesus. Moses was so beloved by God that He Himself buried him. What an honor.
- David ~ David’s life is marked by one mistake and bad decision after another, yet his heart was after God’s own. This was stated by God Himself about David. David was a worshipper. He loved God; he trusted God and he was determined to fulfill God’s will for his life. That is some rich soil right there. David’s life was marked by war and blood. He was always fighting giants and the enemies of God all throughout his reign as king of Israel. He spoiled his children and they turned on him. Absalom even slept with his ten concubines in the sight of all Israel. How humiliating was that? He lost children to death, his friends turned on him and wanted to kill him. His employer wanted to kill him. The list of David’s adversities is well documented. Yet through all his tribulations, he never lost sight of God. He never got mad and walked away from his purpose. He remained faithful until the very end of his life. God used David’s adversities to accomplish what He wanted in the nation of Israel. He even formed an everlasting covenant with David that his throne would have the Messiah Jesus Christ sitting on it forever. What a life!
- The Apostle Paul ~ Paul who entered the Bible as a persecutor of Jesus Christ, became His most fervent servant. Everywhere Paul went he was persecuted, beaten with rods, left for dead and on and on. His life was one volcanic eruption after another because of how big Jesus lived on the inside of him. The soil of his heart was so rich that he even was allowed to see the third heaven even though he couldn’t divulge any details of what he saw and heard there. He won entire nations to the Kingdom of God, he was consumed with God’s purpose for his life and literally nothing else compared to it in his heart. THAT is the level of intimacy that makes for the most fertile soil.
- Jesus Christ ~ Last but certainly not least is our Lord Jesus Christ. The Son of Man. The Word of God. The Wonderful Counselor. His life is the supreme example of the most fertile soil of the heart. Where God is supremely number ONE. His entire life was utterly devoted to His Father. He was a humble Servant. He was the epitome of love itself. He was obedient unto His death. From the outset of His earthly ministry Satan was after Him. In the wilderness, every Pharisee, scribe, or Sadducee He came across wanted to kill Him. To silence Him. To destroy Him from the face of the earth. He was hounded from town to town because the more He spoke the Truth of the Word and God’s Kingdom realm the more hated He became. There isn’t any difference today from then until now. When we begin to live like Jesus did, we too shall encounter the same adversities, but we can know that through it all, our hearts’ soil will be the most fertile soil of all…