by Doug Mitts
And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty. (Matthew 13:23, NAS95)
I love the metaphors of Scripture. They possess a simplicity that provokes reflection. Hearing their words without pondering the sense prevents their truths from penetrating deep into my soul. Here, a seed falls on good soil, and the sower anticipates its fruit.
I long to bear fruit, and I’d love to exceed even the hundredfold indicated in the verse. Yet I realize that in order to bear fruit, I must abide in the soil. Remove me from the soil and fruit fails. God, for years, has called me to simply spend time with Him. Abiding. Being. For me, that doesn’t sound much like fruit. Sometimes I think I’m just missing it.
But then, what does a seed do? Well, not nothing, but what comes naturally from its environment: growth and fruit. I see the soil as the place of abiding, where nurturing and feeding take place. All seeds derive their life from the soil, from something beyond themselves. The roots go down and the stalk goes up.
I’ve come to learn that my life is totally derived from God, not just at conception, but throughout my days. God has shaped this perspective through numerous conversations. God has also indicated that I actually live and move and have my being in Him. I can’t avoid God. I might dismiss Him, but I can’t avoid Him. So why not connect, and connect deeply with strong roots? Long ago, lots of years past, I not only made a decision to follow Jesus, but His Spirit prompted me to make a priority of abiding in Him, deriving my life, my worldview, my ideas, my habits from Him. To connect, and connect deeply. I love it. I long daily for times of focused connection and conversation as well as interaction with Him throughout my day.
In the midst of that abiding, I have grown to realize that out of simply sitting in the soil of God’s presence, things simply take place. Hearing happens through His Word. Prayer produces a response. Desires change. Habits that harm get noticed and transformed. Loving as God does grows louder. Hungering for others to know Jesus deepens into practice. Fruit happens. It happens from abiding, and it’s (super)natural.
I still wonder about the hundredfold, but God has convinced me that it is an overflow of abiding in His presence.
“But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.” (Psalm 1:2–3, NAS95)
- How are your noticing God as you abide in His presence throughout the day?
- How are your spiritual practices fostering your ability to recognize God’s interactions?