Leave Boldly // Day 24

Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of faith is to see what you believe.  –Saint Augustine

As we think about what it means to make decisions as if we only had one month to live, the question remains: Is it possible to live in such a way that the impact of our lives is felt forever? I not only believe it’s possible; I believe it’s the kind of life we were made for. The Psalmist reveals how to live a life that outlasts you: “Generation after generation stands in awe of your work; each one tells stories of your mighty acts.” (Psalms 145:4, MSG). With this truth in mind, let’s look at the what, where, and why behind leaving a lasting legacy so when we die we leave boldly.

In Matthew 13, we find Jesus telling the parable of the sower: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop – a hundred, sixty, or thirty times what was sown.” (verses 3-8).

At its most basic level, this is a parable about faith because the farmer has faith in the seed, in its ability to yield a crop. In essence he’s planting a seed of faith. If we’re going to live lives that outlast us, then we must continually plant seeds of faith. While the parable focuses on God, who is always sowing faith into our lives, we’re also invited to consider what we’re planting, especially if we’re going to live a life that produces for generations to come.

Every day, every moment, with every action, you’re planting something. So the question is, what exactly are you planting? What is the cumulative effect of your words, actions, and intentions on those around you and those ahead of you? What harvest will be reaped from all that you plant day in and day out? From the outside, it may be difficult to discern between a seed and a pebble. But, of course, inside they are vastly different. There is life in the seed; there is nothing but rock inside the pebble. The seed has power and potential in it; it produces life. Unfortunately, some of us spend our time planting rocks – no potential, no life, no fruit.

The crucial test in determining if we’re planting real seeds or just rocks emerges in our motivation for planting. Am I sowing seed to meet my own needs or to meet the needs of others? In John 12:24, Jesus explains, “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” The seed has to go into the ground, and in the silence of the ground, it dies. All alone there, it opens up to bring forth life. In the same way, we have to die to ourselves – to our selfish desires and goals and dreams – so we can plant an unselfish seed. People are created in God’s image as spiritual beings who live for eternity, either with Him or apart from Him. If we invest in people’s lives, then our legacy becomes like a giant oak, providing life for generations to come.

Most farmers will tell you that where you plant is almost as important as what plant. A seed has potential, but if it’s planted in bad soil, there’s not going to be any fruit. The soil in Jesus’ parable represents different types of lives, and the first one represents a callous life. Jesus describes it this way, “When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path.” (Matthew 13:19). This is the picture of people who are not interested in spiritual things at all. They’re just living for themselves, planting selfish seeds. The impact of their lives will be like a footprint on the beach – here today and gone tomorrow.

The next type of soil represents a comfortable life. This is the picture of people who have committed their lives to following Jesus but are not growing deep in their relationship with Him. When problems and stresses set in, they give up. “The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away.” (13:20-21). These people think that when they become a Christian, their lives will always go smoothly. But the Christian life is not about comfort; it’s about character. God grows our character when we step out and plant seeds of faith and it usually stretches us and makes us feel uncomfortable. In fact, “without faith it is impossible to please God.” (Hebrews 11:6). God never promised a life that’s convenient and carefree. He does promise us an abundant life of joy without worry if we’ll look to Him daily for our needs. When we trust Him, life is a daring adventure where we step out in faith and become fully alive. He is a great God who wants to do amazing things in our lives.

Yet other seeds fall on a type of soil that represents the crowded life. This likely describes most of us. This seed begins to grow, but then the thorns and the weeds run rampant, and the young plant is choked out. “The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful.” (Matthew 13:22). This is the picture of people who start to follow God but surround themselves with things that won’t last and can’t produce life. Their days become completely crowded with too many items – many of them good things – that compete with what they know to be true. Soon the business chokes out time for their relationship with God. Just as in any relationship, the more time we spend with God, the better we’ll know Him.

The final type of soil is the rich, fertile ground of the complete life that Jesus describes: “But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” (13:23). This is a picture of people who receive God’s truth, plant it deeply in their lives, and yield an impact that’s felt for generations. That’s what God wants to do in your life, but you must never lose sight of your fundamental motives: why are you planting? What’s your purpose or goal in life? “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” (Galatians 6:7).

If you plant temporary things, you are going to harvest temporary things. If you plant eternal seeds, you are going to harvest eternal fruit. If you plant generosity, you are going to harvest generosity. If you give grace and compassion, you are going to get grace and compassion. Whatever you give out in life, you are going to get back. According to the law of the harvest, we reap what we sow, but we also reap much more than we sow. If I plant one seed, I don’t get one seed or even one apple in return but a tree full of apples, season after season. A bushel of blessing comes from a tiny seed of faith.

If you want to know that your life matters, then you must be willing to plant eternal seeds in the fertile places of your life. When you focus on knowing God’s Word and commit to loving others selflessly, you can expect a bumper crop of blessings in your life. Your life will leave a lasting impact for generations to come.

Personal Challenge

1. Be honest. How much time do you spend cultivating your heart by reading, studying, enjoying God’s Word? How much would you like to spend in the Word each week? Carve out some time in your schedule in the coming days and spend it alone with God in your Bible, knowing that this seed will produce fruit even after your life on this earth is over.

2. Review your schedule and activities for the week. Which of these is crowding out the seed of God’s Word in your life? Think about ways to transition these items out of your schedule, if not permanently, then at least for a season to free up time to cultivate your heart and relationship with God.

  • Nikki Keehl

    I have learned to understand the kind of seed sowing that i was doing was not at all the same seed packet that Jesus was referring to. I was sowing a gossip seed, jealous seed, envy seed and stealing the tithe that the Lord gave me to plant for a harvest to grow in my life. No wonder i was reaping all the negitive i was sowing. Now i know what kind of seed packet the Lord wants for me to sow…..Life in Abundance and to the Fullest as possible. After all, is’nt that why He came!!!

  • gail mcgroder

    Thank you for making these readings so easy to understand. Many times I have heard a sermon or have read passages without being able to unravel the true/entire meaning of them. I love how you put everything into real terms and help me to better follow God with a clear understanding of His words and desires for me to help others.

  • susan

    This is so true! I had a handwriting teacher, we thought
    he was mean. Mr. Komoran used to yell and hit the
    table with a ruler if we put our elbows on the table
    when we wrote. Alot of students left his class.
    At the end of the year we all found out what a sweet
    heart he really was.