“But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.” (Luke 8:15)
No time right now to engage in interpretive or theological prolixity. Just wanted to note something specific.
This verse is taken from the parable of the seed and the sower. In the parable itself, Jesus refers to “good soil,” which “yields a crop a hundred times more” than the seed that was sown. When He explains the parable to the disciples, He says that “the seed sown on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart.”
The idea of someone with a noble and good heart is particularized in the latter half of Luke 8:15:
- They hear the word
- They retain it
- They produce a crop by means of persevering
I wrote the following in the margin of my Bible:
Perseverance, added to reception and retention of the Word, is the means by which we yield harvest for God.
Today, I note especially that perseverance is a necessary ingredient for fruitfulness. I see here an expression of divine-human partnership in the life of a believer — or, as one of my seminary professors used to put it, “It’s God all the way through man all the way.”
The seed is the word of God, and it contains within itself what is needed for life. Given the right environment, it takes root and grows all by itself — it’s programmed to do so. Natural Church Development would call this one of God’s growth “automatisms.” But the prerequisite for this all-by-itself growth is a noble and good heart, i.e., an individual predisposed to receive the word, retain the word, and persevere in practicing the word. There is a component that God alone can do through His life-giving word, but there is also a component that we are responsible for. I do not mean to suggest that God does not come alongside to aid or even enable us in these regards — it is He who works in us to will and to do His good pleasure. I think God grants us the grace, mercy, and power we need to persevere. But persevering also appears to be within the human sphere, a consistent posture of ours that must be present if we want to bear fruit for God.
aka The MonT-SteR