3 Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: “Behold, a sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. 5 Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. 6 But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. 7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. 8 But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
18 “Therefore hear the parable of the sower: 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside. 20 But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. 22 Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. 23 But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
-Matthew 13:3-8, 18-23
Often times when we hear this message preached, emphasis is placed on providing a place for the seed to be sown—the good ground. Is it possible to believe that you have good ground for the word, but then realize it has no depth? Well, if you are afraid to admit it, allow me to be the first. This has happened to me plenty of times! I heard the Word, I received it, but then sometime the following week (or maybe even 3 days later), I find it difficult to regurgitate the Word! I mean, did I even receive one if I can’t remember it?
As a leader, God has entrusted you with the responsibility of maintaining your garden. It is up to you to put in the effort to make sure it has the proper nutrients so when you plant something, it won’t so easily be destroyed by the environment. It is imperative that you take notice and cater to the needs of your garden. Your garden will only produce to the degree it has been prepared and cultivated. If you don’t spend much time tilling the ground, pulling up weeds, laying fertilizer and watering it, nothing will grow.
How do you protect your ground? You read your Word, spend time in prayer and worship. The Bible instructs us to set our affections on things above, and not on the things of the world. But if you don’t spend any time with Him, you will not develop an appetite for Him. Developing an appetite for Him will keep you from stumbling as well. An Appetite means you need to satisfy a desire or a need. Once you spend time with Him on a regular, you will desire to seek Him more and more, BEFORE reacting to situations and BEFORE making decisions.
Have you ever noticed that when you are not trying to accomplish anything, everything seems fine? What about when you make the decision to accomplish something? Does it seem like things become more difficult? Verse 21 informs us that tribulations and persecutions are going to come, BECAUSE OF THE WORD! When a Word is spoken over your life, the enemy will bring about every opposition possible to keep this transformation from manifesting. Why? He stands the chance of losing a lot if you get to your next position in God. The more you grow, the more he loses.
Take your leadership role as an example. While God gives us grace for our designated tasks, there is still some opposition that comes with leadership. As leaders, we have to protect our vision. If God has given you a vision for something, write it down and make it plain so it can manifest at the appointed time. You have to be committed to the plan and strategy of the Lord. When opposition comes, stand firm and see the salvation of the Lord! This thing will pass, but you have to endure hardness as a good soldier.
Leaders are charged with the responsibility of living a life of integrity, especially in front of God’s people. You want to set an example and give them encouragement that if God spoke it, it will come to pass! What does it look like if you are trying to reassure someone else that God’s Word does not return void when it looks like you are having difficulties experiencing the manifestations of God’s Word yourself? To their surprise, you forfeited your own destiny by not protecting your vision!
So next time you feel God pulling you in another direction, but your circumstances are not in line; or if you feel like the enemy has a personal vendetta against you—it’s not you, it’s the Word!