By Sally Lombardo
“And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold….But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” – Mark 4:4–8, 20
The parable of the sower is one of my favorites, because it reflects the nature of a person who is seeking to know and love God and to cultivate an environment where the Spirit can flourish. Each type of soil represents the people and lifestyles that we all know. The rocky soil reminds us of hard people who do not let the love of God sink in. The seed that falls among thorns is the secular world, where foolish cares and pleasures destroy intimacy with God. Only the good soil produces ripe grain that allows for an abundant harvest and multiplied fruit. Jesus commends this type of soil, blessing it to bear fruit that will last.
The expression “bear fruit” for God is used often, but what does it mean? Scripture instructs me to seek wisdom, fear God, and cling to his Word. However, like the rich young ruler, we could follow all the commandments and still lack something (Luke 18:18–22). Jesus tells the disciples on their final evening together that the only way to find lasting significance is to seek His presence above all else: “I am the vine, you are the branches; whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). In my life, sometimes I act like I am the vine. I try to live according to my own strength instead of depending on God, and I try to achieve my own praise instead of God’s glory—then I wonder why God doesn’t follow my lead. The fruit that grows in my self-sufficient life dries up and disappears.
Jesus told his disciples to hold fast to the eternal vine, where spiritual fruit grows. When you make time to spend with Jesus, you will learn what it means to abide, and you will find joy as you grow in him. In the Gospels, Jesus constantly encourages his followers to seek him in the quiet of their hearts. He commends Mary of Bethany for sitting at his feet and staying connected in prayer, saying that only “one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:42). The only way to bear lasting fruit in life is to stay close to the Savior of your heart.
If Jesus has transformed you, what is keeping you from bearing abundant fruit in your life? How does bearing fruit for the Lord bring you joy? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
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