As a child, i always looked forward to the school breaks. My dad would take advantage of his business and ministry trips to take us on mini -vacations. And it was mad fun. Our trips took us to Machakos, Nakuru, Kericho, Embu, Meru and Loitoktok [local tourism nani]. My favourite destination at the time was Nakuru. I looked forward to our usual stop over at the Great Rift Valley Check Point to marvel at the wonder that is the Great Rift Valley. Come to think of it, i need to that real soon. The view, especially in the soft glow of the morning sun is absolutely breathtaking. Another habit i had at that young age was lookin up into the clouds and in my head and heart, have conversations with God. Some were as silly as “why that cloud looks like a horse” or “heal those that are sick”. And i know, at the bottom of my knower, that he heard, and he answered. Such precious memories.
I equally loved our 5 hour road trips upcountry. [I was the designated and self appointed singer for the entire journey]. On those trips, i got practical lessons in geography [though i later dropped it like a bad habit]. If you were born before1999 [let’s not argue please], you will remember our G.H.C books had a collection of maps [and we were expected to remember all of them- what for?]. One of them showed rivers and lakes, another longitude and latitude, another the hills and mountain and another, the agricultural segments and so on and so forth. If you remember [no judgement if you don’t], there was one that showed the agricultural segments [arid, semi arid areas, cash and food crops etc], and which crops grew in which areas. For instance, the Rift Valley and upper western region was considered the bread basket because of the predominance of wheat, barley and maize farming [again, i dropped the subject so, just follow my drift. I’m trying to make a point, alright?]. Embu – Mwea was known for rice, the coffee plantations that were common place in Muranga, Kiambu and its environs while Kericho was synonymous with tea. 0
For me, those maps were boring and naturally, i hated having to memorise them. But the truth is, they were extremely important because they taught us which climatic conditions were best suited for what type of crop. For instance, cotton and pyrethrum thrived in regions that had predominantly dark cotton soil, the western highlands were best for tea, maize and bananas and the eastern highlands were best for potatoes, coffee, so on and so forth.
Anyway!! What’s the point of all this banter about Kenya and farming? 😂. The soil.
Let’s go back to our reading in Mark 4.
As you recall, Jesus was telling the story of the sower who went to sow seed. In the process, the seed fell in 4 different types of soil or ground and we have so far, looked at the first three. Now, let’s look at the 4th and last. Yes? Jesus describes this last environment as good ground. Here, we see that the seeds which fell in good ground sprang up and yielded a harvest, some of 30, others of 60 and others 100 fold. As he later explained the parable to his disciples, Jesus described good ground as representative of ones who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit.
By the way, i’ ve just had a flashback – Do you remember the picture used in our Bibles for this parable? The most common illustrations or pictures shown to us during Sunday School had a man, the sower, walking and scattering seed, and all the 4 types of environment were visible in the picture. So, is it safe to say that at any given time, all 4 types of ground are represented in the congregation?
From what Jesus explained, we see that the good ground has 3 characteristics – the ability to hear, accept and be fruitful.
Hearing in this case is not just the physical ability and sense of hearing, no. It speaks of a spirit that is tuned into God’s frequency and is able to pick out from the message being delivered from the pulpit what is specific to him/her. This is a person who is familiar with the voice of God. And has a heart that is constantly searching for God. Acceptance speaks to the ability to allow the word take root and begin to effect change and transformation in our lives. Acceptance creates the perfect environment for the seed to take root and begin to change the “how” we do things. It means the hearer is submitted enough to accept the truth of God’s word and walk in obedience to it. And can i tell you, the faster you accept and walk in obedience, the faster the change is manifested – as fruit.
By the way, this is not just in reference to areas that need to be repented of. No. It touches even those areas that the Lord wants us to grow in. Ubaya ni vile the first thing we think about is sin, eish.
Fruitfulness. Do you know you cannot hide fruit? Do also you know that all trees in the shamba do not produce the same quantity of fruit? And that in one year you can get 55 mangoes and the next 125?
Ok. So why didn’t Jesus simply leave it as, they bore fruit, and instead went on to state the rate or return? In my view, the graduation from 30, to 60 and 100 fold is an illustration of two things – the degree to which we hear and accept the word of God; and the wisdom to remain consistent. So, what should we do?
First, through prayerful introspection, identify your level of fruitfulness in all areas. Yes. You can. A farmer knows which side of his shamba will produce the sweetest maize so don’t try and make an excuse here. If you are honest, you will agree that some areas have more fruits than others.
Secondly, identify why the is less fruit in an area than others. Is it because of what i have set my heart on? My level of obedience? My fears and doubts? And again, this is not simply because you sinned. No. It can be deficiency in understanding, or ignorance of the whole truth in any area.
Third, deal with the hurdles and make a commitment to stay consistent. The Christian walk is not one of perfection but one of repentance. That said, consistency means that regardless of the state of the soil [1,2,3 and 4], we allow the word to continually check us, wash us and restore us to fruitfulness. And the truth is, His word is not a novel. Its alive and well – we jsut need to allow Him to work on us.
Prayer: Search me, I pray and know my hear today. Cleanse me from every sin and make me new. Give me a heart that hides your word, and bears the fruit of righteousness.