The word of God is divine. In its nature, the word must have a positive effect. The word of God in its nature always bear fruit. But it must be accepted by a willing heart.
This happens because God also respects our freedom to choose to worship Him or not. So, when the word of God comes to us, we are the people who will decide whether to put it into practice or not.
The fruit of the word depends on whoever hears and puts it into practice. Isaiah 55:10–11 says, “As the rain and snow come down from heaven, . . . so shall the word that comes from my mouth shall not return unto me empty, without accomplishing its purpose”. So, the word of God must accomplish a positive effect.
So, when we put the word into practice, it must yield a positive effect. When the word does not bear fruit in us is when we decide not to allow it to bear fruit.
We are the only barriers. Therefore, the word of God needs us to put it into practice. The only thing that prevents the word of God from accomplishing its purpose, is our hearts.
God respects our free will. The heart is where the seed is sown. How fertile our heart is, determines how productive we can be.
The parable of today is full of many interpretations. Hence, through Jesus’ interpretation of the parable let us discuss the reason we do not bear fruit after hearing the word.
Like the Crowd
The gospel begins by telling us that a large crowd gathered around Jesus today to listen to Him. Like the crowd who came from different towns to hear Jesus is how we gather every day and week to hear the word of God.
These groups of people represent the various types of “soil” in which the seed of the word is sown.
In our spiritual gatherings, many come to the church not because they have the hunger for the word but because others are coming.
Some come because they are just members of the church, so they need to come. Others come only to showcase their new clothes and look for new friends.
Many people come only for thanksgiving and donation to showcase their wealth and after thanksgiving, they leave the church.
They are not interested in the worship nor what you preach. While many others come because they are supposed to go to church on Sunday.
Finally, some come because of the hunger for the word. In these groups, we have to categorize ourselves and check where we belong.
The word of God does not bear fruit if we do not have the hunger to listen to it or pay attention to it. We make the soil infertile for it to germinate when we do not listen to the word and keep to it. We need to have the hunger for God.
Truly, the word of God is full of power, but we do not pay attention to it or we take it for granted. This is why James advised that we should not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. But to do what it says (James 1:22).
The implication is that how we respond to the word of God, indicates how it will remain effective in us. The word of God does not bear fruit if we give it cold attention.
Reasons We do not bear fruit
There are reasons we do not bear fruit. We draw our inspiration from the parable that Jesus gives to the crowd today. The reasons are:
1. When we hear the word without understanding and do not wish to understand it, Jesus says that at this point the evil one comes and carries what was sown in the heart: this is the seed that falls on the edge of the path according to the parable.
Good examples here are the Pharisees, the scribes, the chief priests who were antagonistic to Jesus because they refused to understand him.
This group will always twist the word to their own understanding. They will like to make you believe in their own subjective understanding of the bible.
They gather more followers who follow their reasoning than the teachings of the church. The devil works perfectly in this type of group. This is also when we hear the word and swallow it literally without interpretation.
2. Another reason is when we hear the word and welcome it at once with joy, but it has no root deep down and can never last when trials and persecution come. We fall and abandon the word when we encounter things that could challenge our faith. These ones fell on a rocky path.
Therefore, the word of God does not bear fruit in us when we allow worrying to take the place of prayers in our lives.
This happens when we encounter challenges but instead of using that opportunity to show how we love God, we rather lose faith. The word of God does not bear fruit when we fear circumstances more than we fear God.
The crowd who responded positively to Jesus during his earthly ministry and even shouted Hosanna while He entered Jerusalem and yet turned against Jesus during his suffering and persecution belong in this field.
This simply indicates that while we receive the word, temptations, and challenges, may come. These can come from friends who will tell you how foolish you are, in what you are doing.
The people in this group are also those who encounter persecutions, challenges, suffering to the extent that it will look as if God does not exist, at this point some lose their faith.
3 The word of God does not bear fruit when we hear the word, but the worry of the world and the desire for riches choke the word and so it produces nothing.
These are those who only listen to the word for the sake of what they want to hear, they only see God like an ATM machine, God of dollars and euro, when they could not find the dollar and euro, they lose faith.
The rich young man who was full of his possessions (Luke 12 13-21) is a good example. The word of God does not bear fruit in us when we allow the things we are passing through to take the upper hand in our minds than God does.
These ones will desert Jesus to save their lives and pursue wealth. Therefore, the word of God does not bear fruit in us when we abandon our faith and relationship with God because of the love of money or material possessions.
The Good Soil
The good soil is those “who hear the word and understand it. They are those who have passed through the stages discussed above.
They are those who know that the word in its nature is capable of changing and transforming us. These are people who don’t take the word literally, they find its meaning and live on its guidelines.
The good soil is the person who receives the word and conquers the challenges and temptations that come their way.
They are those who never allowed the problems of this world to demean the power of the word in their lives. So, they do not only hear it, they live the word, and it bears much in their lives.
The good soil is the person who knows that God’s word is worth more than riches.
Hence, he does not allow the self desires, wealth and riches to quench the thirst for God.
They understand that everything in the world is temporary and they seek more of eternal life.
They do not want anything to disrupt their relationship with God. So, we have to ask ourselves: where do we belong?
The seeds that fell in good soil bear a lot of fruit. Let us be like the good soil to fully experience the power of the word of God.
May God bless you dearest and help us to listen to the word, accept, and live on it. May His grace always remain abundant in our lives Amen.