A Fruitful Environment

Published on Wednesday, 01 July 2020 07:20
Written by Stewardship Today Staff

finance july2020Ed purchased the best plants for his new garden. He tilled the soil, and studied hard, making sure he was ready for pests, disease and the inevitable quirks of regional weather. He watered and waited for his plants to produce a harvest. Before they reached a foot or two, though, some had begun to yellow. They looked weak, and the few that produced fruit seemed far too anemic to support new growth. Puzzled, he rechecked his work, determined to isolate the cause. Finally, he returned to the nursery and sought the advice of an expert. The nursery owner recognized the problem immediately and requested a soil sample. Ed learned a powerful lesson. He had done well, except for one essential thing. He’d not prepared his soil, and in his neighborhood the soil needed help. When he adjusted its mineral content, his garden began a turnaround that yielded an abundant harvest.                        

Ed knew to protect against birds and disease. He knew the importance of sun and rain. Still, he neglected what seemed so obvious later on. The right environment is vital for health and growth. Jesus addressed this concept in His parable of the sower and seeds. “Some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, and when the sun rose it was scorched, and withered for lack of roots. Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew and choked it. But some fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold” (Matthew 13:4-8). 

The seed‘s potential depends on the quality of a nutritious environment. The Lord provided a detailed explanation. “The seed sown on the path is the one who hears the word without understanding, and the evil one steals away what was sown. The seed sown on rocky ground is the one who hears and receives with joy, but he has no root and lasts only for a time. The seed sown among thorns is the one who hears, but worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word and it bears no fruit. But the seed sown on rich soil is the one who hears and understands, who bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold” (Matthew 13:19-23). The quality of the soil is vital. Same seed, same word, yet the outcome rests with the quality of the environment. And, the promise is a great one—a healthy spirit, like rich soil, yields an abundant harvest.