I asked this question in the first Blog I wrote on Faith, what is Faith? After writing and studying on the subject I believe that I have an answer.
Mark 4: 2-4 New Living Translation
He taught them by telling many stories in the form of parables, such as this one: “Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seed. As he scattered it across his field, some of the seed fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate it.
It is absolutely amazing, how does so much beauty come from such a tiny seed. You dig a hole and place the seed in the ground, add the needed nutrients, and water from time to time. Before long that seed cracks open, falling apart in the ground releasing the beauty that was buried inside. The stem pushes its way through the dirt – finding the sun and blooming where it had been planted. The seed becomes the very thing it was created to be.
In this parable, it has always struck me odd that the farmer is just tossing out seed in some type of uncontrolled process, but God’s message is for everyone. It appears that some seed has found its way to a footpath where birds come and eat of it, never having an opportunity for growth. The seed never has a chance to die, never the opportunity to open. It stays incased within the hardened shell it wears.
Mark 4: 5-6 New Living Translation
Other seed fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seed sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. But the plant soon wilted under the hot sun, and since it did not have deep roots, it died.
Here we find another grouping and thankfully the seed found some soil, shallow as it was. This seed believed that life could be better, that there was a higher calling. But it was only able to cover itself with some soil. The stem began to grow seemingly without much difficulty and then it bloomed, so pretty. The heat of the day fell on the beautiful plant which caused this tremendous need for water. Dried hardened rock was all it found for there was no passage built to dig deep to find the answer the plant needed. It died.
Mark 5: 7 New Living Translation
Other seed fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants, so they produced no grain.
This grouping fell in amongst some weeds that required all the same soil, nutrients, and needed water. They grew up together to the point it was hard to tell one plant from the other. Well, until it was too late, there was not enough room for our seed to bloom, to grow into the very object it was designed to become. The crowd around it had taken everything, it could no longer see the sun, or feel the rain. No room for deep roots because all its time was spent searching to be seen, to stand out, or to be noticed for who they could become, among the weeds of life.
Mark 4: 8-9 New Living Translation
Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they sprouted, grew, and produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted!” Then he said, “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”
Our final grouping of seed in this story from Jesus finds its way to the fertile soil. This soil had been prepared – softened, tilled, turned, and filled will all the nutrients needed. When the seed landed it just fell in between layers of brown soil and the first drops of water seemed to seal it in place. The seed began to crack the hard shell it had been carrying for so long, broken and gone where the cares of the past as the water and soil washed over it. The stem began to move upward finding the sun and blooming. The leaves were so pretty has they soaked in the new world around them. The plant started to produce fruit perfect for refreshing the soul. This plant is not taken by the birds to eat, or to be seen by others, no, this plant had discovered a wealth of strength by digging deep into the soil. The heat of the day fell on our plant only to strengthen the resolve as it clung to the depth found in the roots.
John 15: 5-13 New Living Translation
“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father. “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
In the parable retold by Mark, the seed represents us, and the soil is the Message of God’s Word. The final group of seed fell in the richness of God’s Message and cracked under the weight of such incomparable love. “For apart from me you can do nothing”, hold on to that statement, it dwells at the very foundation of faith. “You can ask whatever you will”, we will work through this statement by Jesus. If we are still living on the bird feeding path, or in the soil without depth, or even among the weeds, we are standing without Him. But, when we are living in and from Him, we can ask whatever. You see it is only when our hearts are aligned with His heart that we understand how to ask, how to seek, and how to knock. “Your joy will overflow”, no matter the situation when we are connected to the true vine our joy will overflow from His love toward us. “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” We are His friend, His loved one, and his family when we are connected to Him.
What is Faith – Finding the rich soil of God’s message and burying ourselves in Him.