There is a story that Jesus tells in Matthew 13 that you have probably heard before. It’s been coined “The Parable of the Sower.” This is what Matthew writes:
Later that same day Jesus left the house and sat beside the lake. A large crowd soon gathered around him, so he got into a boat. Then he sat there and taught as the people stood on the shore. He told many stories in the form of parables, such as this one:
Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds. As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them. Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots, they died. Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants. Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted! Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand. (Matthew 13:1-9 NLT)
Now every time I’ve read this or heard this taught it’s always been from the perspective that we are the farmer. All we are responsible for is to throw out the seed, and if it takes root it takes root, but we are just supposed to be obedient and keep throwing seed. In other words, out of all the work that we do, only 25% is going to produce something and the other 75% is going to be wasted. There is nothing we can do about the other 75%, we need to just be satisfied with the 25%.
This was what I thought for a long time and even believed until I heard Perry Noble speak on it recently. He said that we shouldn’t settle for ok, but we need to strive for excellence. We can’t be satisfied with 25%, we need to strive for 100%.
Just like the farmer, we are responsible for throwing out the seed, but it is also our responsibility to take care of the soil in order that all our seed will produce a crop 30, 60, and 100 times as much as had been planted. Jesus’ expectation is that when good soil is present it will produce a harvest. There is no maybe. There is no perhaps. It will produce. Good seed plus good soil equals good fruit.
So let’s no longer be satisfied or settle for ok, let’s strive for excellence. Let’s work the soil. Let’s help people understand. Let’s help people take root. Let’s help people not get caught up in worry and wealth, but in worshiping Jesus. So that when we do throw out the seed, there will be good soil and it will produce.