When the disciples asked Jesus to explain to them the parable of the sower and the seed in Mark 4, He gave them this answer, “And He said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables?” (Mark 4:13) According to Jesus, understanding this principle of sowing a seed and reaping a harvest is vital to understanding the way the Kingdom of God works. We know that seeds and those who plant them are important in the natural world, but as we study the principles of the Kingdom, it is amazing how similar they are.
First of all, the sower sows. The sower is not nearly as important as the seed. Sowers come in all shapes and sizes, however the harvest is determined by the characteristics and the quality of the seeds. The sower can be anyone who gets the seed (The Word of God) into the ground (The Hearer).
“So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.” 1 Corinthians 3:7
1. The Power of a Seed
I want to focus our attention on the quality of the seed. God’s Word is the seed we plant and it is unlike any other seed in the world. First of all it is incorruptible.
“Having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever…” 1 Peter 1:23 (NKJV)
The Word never fails, it has a 100% germination rate. Given the proper environment, it will always produce a harvest.
As Paul preached the Word in Ephesus the bible says,
“So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed.” Acts 19:20
Even natural seeds have tremendous power. They may start out small but they can eventually take over. A small seed can fall into a crack in a sidewalk or an asphalt parking lot, and in time grow up mightily and prevail. So much so that if a parking lot is not properly maintained, over time the power of little seeds will eventually reclaim the entire area.
Jesus described the Kingdom of God this way:
“It is like a mustard seed which, when it is sown on the ground, is smaller than all the seeds on earth; 32 but when it is sown, it grows up and becomes greater than all herbs, and shoots out large branches, so that the birds of the air may nest under its shade.” Mark 4:31-32 (NKJV)
The Kingdom of God may have started out small and have appeared insignificant, but in time it will take over the world. The Word of God may appear powerless but given the proper place in a believer, it will change things for eternity.
The enemy has tried time and again to stop God’s Word but it can’t be done. There was a time when the Word was shut up behind the walls of the church, people had to depend on the priests to tell them what the Bible said because it wasn’t written in their language. Finally a small seed floated down “the just shall live by faith” and lodged in the heart of a man named Martin Luther. The Reformation was on and the world was changed by the power of a seed!
Paul said in Romans 1:16,
“I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ (The Seed) for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes.”
2. The Importance of a Seed
Seeds are irreplaceable, the world couldn’t function without them and once they are given, they can’t be taken back. The world has been filled with seeds, there is no going back. You could clear a field of vegetation but because of seeds, plants will blossom again.
A forest fire can burn the forest to the ground with nothing left but charred remains, but in time sprouts will begin to grow and a new forest will replace the old one. You can destroy the plants but you can’t destroy the seeds.
“So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11
The world has been seeded with God’s Word and it’s not going away. The Word has been given from Heaven and it will produce. Salvation is here to stay, you can kill the messenger but you can’t kill the message! Healing seeds are here to stay. He sent His Word and healed them… Psalm 107:20. Seeds of victory are here and seeds of prosperity are here to stay!
The Bible is filled with the blessings of God in seed form. When those words are planted in good ground, they will produce a harvest every time. The kingdom is communicated, transmitted, carried, received, possessed through words. What an ingenious way to get the blessings of God to people. We are able to get salvation to people through words. 2 Pet 1:4 says:
“By which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises (Words), that through these (Words) you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”
3. The Value of a Seed
God did not give us pre-packaged food as you see it in the grocery store. He gave us seeds. To get the food to multiply so it can be distributed, somebody has to plant seeds. We don’t live in an agricultural society today and may have lost sight of the true value of a seed, but many times this is still God’s chosen method. What happens in some cases is that people are ready for a harvest and God gives them a seed. If you aren’t familiar with the value of seeds and how God’s Kingdom operates you may be disappointed.
When it was time for the Israelites to take the promised land, God didn’t give them the land on a silver platter, He gave them a promise (a seed). They didn’t appreciate the value of the seed at first. God expected them to receive the promise and take the land. It didn’t make sense, it seemed so small and they seemed so weak. They didn’t understand the value of a seed. They would have preferred advanced weapons systems or access to a modern army. All they got was a promise. When the promise comes from God that’s all you need.
Some people come to church to receive a miracle and leave disappointed because all they got was a message. But we must understand the value of the seed. If you come to church expecting an apple pie and I give you a handful of apple seeds, you may be disappointed. But the truth is, if you take the apple seeds and plant them, eventually you will be able to make more pies than you’ll ever need! I can’t always give you a pie (fully manifested miracle) but I can always give you the seeds.
The centurion understood this principle. His servant was sick and almost dead. Jesus said, “I will come and heal him.” I would have let Jesus come and heal him if it was me. But the centurion understood the value of a seed and he said, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed.” (Matt 8:8)
His attitude was this, “I don’t need a visitation from The Lord or a feeling or a vision or a dream, all I need is one word from God. If I get my Word I will get my miracle.”
Jesus was clearly impressed with this centurion and commended him for having “such great faith”. All you need today is a Word from God. With one Word from God you can go in to your promised land, recieve your healing or experience His miracle provision!
4. The Mystery of a Seed
Having a bible on the coffee table doesn’t produce a harvest. The seeds don’t do anything in the sack, they have to be planted in good soil.
Even in the natural world, the planting of a seed is not a very exciting process. It’s actually a strange phenomenon. You take the valuable seed outside, dig a hole, bury it and step on it. Normally, that’s what you do when you want to dispose of something. But it’s necessary if you want to see a harvest. Jesus explained the mystery of a seed this way in Mark 4:26-29:
26 And He said, “ The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground, 27 and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how. 28 For the earth yields crops by itself:first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head. 29 But when the grain ripens, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”
Plant God’s Word by putting it in your mouth and in your heart. The seed will sprout and grow, we don’t know how. God’s Word works. It contains His blessings in seed form. It may not be the most exciting process in every case, but it will work every time! Get excited about God’s Word. Expect to receive something very time you get to hear a sermon or a teaching. The next time you need a miracle and you get a seed instead, do what the psalmist did:
“I rejoice at Your word As one who finds great treasure.” Psalms 119:162
I have a new CD series entitled “Stay Out of My Garden” that deals with this subject at length and answers more questions than we have room for in this article, such as how to be good ground, getting a great harvest and the importance of planting and watering. Call, write or go online at gregfritz.org for more details or to order your copy today.