June 27, 2007 [edited]
The following passage is the explanation from the parable of the sower. Note how often the word "immediately" appears:
Mark 4:15-20 And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts. 16 And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; 17 And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended. 18 And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, 19 And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful. 20 And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred. (Emphasis added.)
We live in a time when so much happens so quickly that patience in the Lord's work has become "outdated." People want immediate results. They want to "see souls saved" and "the altar filled;" they want to see the pews filled, but they chafe that it doesn't happen sooner. They have no desire to "get their hands dirty" in the work of cultivation or tending young plants. Many in the Lord's church today are "outcome based." Some might deny this, but it comes through in their talk and writing in spite of themselves. They are "result oriented" and even "seeker sensitive." Some have rightly referred to this as "microwave Christianity." "They want what they want when they want it", to paraphrase an old song.
Notice first in the passage that Satan immediately taketh away the word that is sown in the hearts of the people by the wayside. There is someone who works immediately in this parable, and it isn't the sower, nor the seed. Remember that!
Next, notice that it is the ones in stony ground who immediately receive the word with gladness. There are those who will seem extremely glad to hear the truth, and yet they have no root. They are not connected to anything that will support growth and fruit - they are not true believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. Too often these people are grabbed by the "soul winners" to set forth as proof that God is "using them" (meaning the soul winner). The new “convert” may be rushed into baptism and church membership, but sadly they only endure for a time. As soon as affliction or persecution comes in relation to the word of God, these people are immediately offended. Then the preacher or "soul winner" blames the person, frets and stews and is frustrated; OR they ignore the fact and go charging on in their numbers game of "who can win the most." (You can't stop counting the ones who "don't stick," you know, or you'll start falling behind.)
Now notice how the ones that are sown among thorns go. They become unfruitful through the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches and the lusts of other things. They are choked by the thorns. This is a slower process. The unfruitfulness is not noticeable for a while, so the "quick results" seekers would be even more deceived in this matter, and possibly more disappointed later.
But, last of all, notice those in good ground. These hear the word, receive it, and bring forth fruit. This does not happen at microwave speed, friends. Grain grows slowly. The crop is not ready two days after planting. It takes time for the seed to sprout, to grow good roots to support the plant, to shoot forth, and finally to bear fruit.
Notice also that the amount of fruit is not the issue. It comes in varying amounts - some thrityfold, some sixty and some an hundred. Those who bring forth thrityfold are not condemned and those who bring forth an hundredfold are not exalted above the others. They all bore fruit! This is the point.
Finally, we must remember Who is in charge of "results" in the first place.
1 Corinthians 3:7-9 So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building. (Emphasis added.)
It is not our responsibility to "get results." It is especially not our responsibility to get them immediately. It is not our place to even be claiming "results." God giveth the increase. We don't need to be, and should not be, fretting over the results or how soon they come.
The East Africans have a saying: "Hurry, hurry has no blessing." In this case it applies well. You can't see quick results where growth is required to produce fruit.
James 5:7 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.
Let's not be carried away with the "hurry up" attitude that is so preeminent today. Plant where you can. Water where you can. Be faithful and patient and let God bring forth fruit to His glory in His time.
Scattering precious seed, doubting never,
Scattering precious seed, trusting ever;
Sowing the word with prayer and endeavor,
Trusting the Lord for growth and for yield.
first posted 9/2012