[Mat 13:1-9 NASB20] 1 On that day Jesus had gone out of the house and was sitting by the sea. 2 And large crowds gathered to Him, so He got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd was standing on the beach. 3 And He told them many things in parables, saying, "Behold, the sower went out to sow; 4 and as he sowed, some [seeds] fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up. 5 "Others fell on the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and they sprang up immediately, because they had no depth of soil. 6 "But after the sun rose, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. 7 "Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out. 8 "But others fell on the good soil and yielded a crop, some a hundred, some sixty, and some thirty [times as much.] 9 "The one who has ears, let him hear."
I don't know a thing about farming, seeds, or growing plants. If Jesus were to speak to me in parables today, I think He knows farming would not be the way to make me understand. Luckily, He knew even then that by the time I came around with my lack of growing understanding, I would have the great tool that is the internet.
So, after I read this passage today, I knew that God was speaking something so much deeper and more profound that just the growth of a single tree. Although He knew that the words He spoke would die at the ears of three-quarters of His listeners, He still spoke truth for the ones in whom it would take root and grow.
I have often assumed when reading this passage that this was another "leave the 99 for the 1" type message. If the Truth grew in just a 25% of the listeners, it was worth speaking. I still believe that is true, but I believe that Jesus was also speaking generationally of the crop to come.
Like I said, I don't know anything about growing anything, so I turned to wikifarmer.com to answer some basic questions. When we look at the result of a single seed over time that takes root, I can even more so see why Jesus saw the value in the one.
How long does it take to take apples from trees?
As it happens in many other fruit trees (orange etc.), if you grow an apple tree from seed, you will normally not harvest any fruit for the first 7-10 years of its life. If you aim at harvesting apples, you may follow the method used by nearly all commercial apple growers, which is to buy grafted seedlings. In this case, you may harvest your first fruits in 1-2 years after planting the young seedling.
Growth takes time. The moment that a seed of Truth is planted, it does not immediately sprout up to producing. The journey of spiritual maturity is not a quick one. We know that Jesus is in it not for the instant gratification, but for the long term rewards. The seed must be nurtured and watered over so much time before it is ready for the harvest. Jesus is in this for the long haul with you, His little seedling. He is ready to take the time to feed you with His living water and to nurture you with the Son until you are ready to sprout and grow strong on your own. Even then, He will continue to care for you. An encounter with Jesus is not a one time fleeting moment; He wants you to have depth and root so that you will not wither away. Allow Him the time to nurture you from seed to tree.
How many apples does an apple tree produce?
From 0 to over 800. A very good yield for a well-cared apple tree grown in a backyard is about 80-150 fruits per season. However, when cultivated commercially, with the effect of sophisticated pollination, fertilization, irrigation and plant protection methods, mature apple trees (older than 10 years old) can produce from 400 to over 800 (and in some cases over 1200) fruits in a season.
During this parable, Jesus was speaking to all four types of seeds. He knew that in the multitude there would be some who immediately disregarded His message. He knew that some would get so excited in that moment, but as soon as they walked away would be easily scorched because they didn't give time for the root. He knew that some would grow. but would be choked out by the world and all of it's thorns. He also knew that some would take root, be nurtured, and grow. He knew that those seeds to whom He spoke would not only grow, but produce 100x, 60x, 30x the fruit. In front of Him were four types of people, but the seeds He planted would feed generations. Sowing many seeds is not a waste if even just one goes on to change an entire future generation. Your spiritual growth is not just for you, it is for you, your children. your children's children, your spiritual children, and all those whose life you will touch by the blood of the lamb and the word of your testimony.
How long does an apple tree live?
The average healthy and well cared apple tree can live from 50 to 80 years. However, there are striking exceptions to this rule. Some apple trees have been reported to live for more than a century. An apple tree rarely produces many fruits after its 50th year of age
The fruit to come from the planting of the seed of Truth in your heart and mind is not just a one and done. The Truth growing inside of you will continue to grow and produce good fruit for years and generations to come. That is who Jesus was speaking to. That is why your spiritual growth matters. That is why sharing your testimony, even if it appears to fall on deaf ears, matters. If your seed goes on to produce even 100 pieces of fruit per year, that is 100 seeds in that fruit with the potential to grow. Some of those seeds may be thrown away, but what if? What if one seed grows and the cycle starts again? What if the next season, your fruit produces another seed that takes root? And what about the next? We go through many seasons of life. An apple tree will go on to bear fruit for 50 or more years. Over the course of your life, how many seeds could you plant? The fruit of the spirit growing inside you is not intended for just this one season alone. You have more seasons to come, more opportunities to come. Keep sowing, keep growing, keep reaping the harvest.
When God planted that seed in you, it wasn't just for you.