Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away.
We live in a society that celebrates the instant, the quick, the fast. Our attention spans are getting shorter. Our ability to wait is getting weaker. We want the best job overnight. We want our dreams to come true as we sleep. We want to make money quickly. We want comfortable living without the price tag. We want our marriages or relationships fixed overnight, or else we might find new ones. We sometimes hop from one church to another to find a message that might tickle our ears or to find a church in which we can avoid accountability, commitment, generosity, challenges—and even avoid putting down roots.
Soil is made through the breaking down process of hard rocks and sediment over many years. It is the challenges in life that break us down and cause our hearts to have more than just a small layer of soil on the top. Jesus describes a heart type that has quick growth. It’s a heart that is sincere on the surface but prideful just beneath. This heart has a level of humility to receive for itself but not the humility that desires fruit for others. Immediately upon hearing the word, the seed springs up in this heart with excitement. But as soon as the heat of the sun comes, these quick-to-grow plants wither away. Jesus does not want us to be content with growth for just us, for He also wants growth that blesses others.
Life will bring heat; to avoid trials is impossible. The seed that Jesus gives us is imperishable and can withstand any opposition. But the seed will not become a fruitful tree if the heart that receives it is looking for a quick fix. God is not a microwave God. If we come with hearts that desire a gospel that fixes everything without a struggle, we will be disappointed, and any growth that we initially had will be lost.
This gospel is not just for show. Jesus desires that we have fruit that remains and fruit that blesses many. He doesn’t just want an overnight success or a quick green sapling of life, but rather He desires an abundance of life flowing out of our lives. This kind of blessing for others does not exist in the absence of struggles, but it persists in the presence of trials. Think on the contrast: for one plant, not deeply rooted, the heat kills it; but for the other, the one rooted deeply in the soil and with roots reaching deep enough to access enough water below the surface, this plant is able to take that heat and turn it into the very thing that will help produce fruit.
We will never see this kind of fruitfulness if our soil is shallow. Shallow soil produces relationships with others that will be short-lived, like this green sapling. If our hearts want just a quick fix from God then we will skip out of being planted in His House and responding to His truth and love. When life gets tough, we desire as a church to be the kind of followers of Christ who realize the sunlight will not scorch us but rather produce in us a future harvest of fruit, for those around us and beyond.
If we have a tendency to skip out of life, relationships, church and commitments to God’s Kingdom when the going gets tough, but today let’s pray that we begin to allow the soil of our hearts to become deeper at every level—and pray that we would not be satisfied with a sapling of grace, but rather that we’d desire a tree of grace in our lives, one that has the potential to produce a harvest of righteousness for us and for many others.
The seed has all the potential we need today; do our hearts want the full potential of this seed?
// Pastor Josh Kelsey