God’s Expectation OF You Is Tied to the Investment He Made IN You!
This morning we continue our series entitled “Leveling Up with the Word!” We have been looking at the parable of the sower. So let’s continue through it today.
(Mark 4:13-20 ERV)
“The farmer is like someone who plants God’s teaching in people. Sometimes the teaching falls on the path. That is like some people who hear the teaching of God. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the teaching that was planted in them.
Other people are like the seed planted on rocky ground. They hear the teaching, and they quickly and gladly accept it. But they don’t allow it to go deep into their lives. They keep it only a short time. As soon as trouble or persecution comes because of the teaching they accepted, they give up.
Others are like the seed planted among the thorny weeds. They hear the teaching, but their lives become full of other things: the worries of this life, the love of money, and everything else they want. This keeps the teaching from growing, and it does not produce a crop in their lives.
And others are like the seed planted on the good ground. They hear the teaching and accept it. Then they grow and produce a good crop—sometimes 30 times more, sometimes 60 times more, and sometimes 100 times more.”
So what does this mean for you today? A few things.
God is the farmer in the parable of the sower, and the farmer is the one who is making the investment.
Let’s think about this parable for a minute.
— God is the farmer.
— It is his land.
— He goes out of His way to sow seed into it.
— He then expects a return on His investment.
— He is not expecting anything that is not tied to the investment that he made.
— His expectation of harvest is only tied to His investment of seed.
The farmer owns the land, and he is looking for a return:
— The Word “Lord” in the Bible is also translated as “owner.”
— God is our Lord. This means we are His people.
— We are called by His name. We belong to Him!
— The farmer does not go out to sow seed into land that does not belong to Him.
— God is sowing seed into us, making an investment in us, because, as Paul said, “we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).
— God gives us his word, and He gave His Spirit, because we belong to Him!
— God expects us to produce based on the investment He made.
— The expectation of the return is only tied to the investment of the seed.
— The seed is His word. God speaks to us and then expects us to produce based on what He revealed.
— The revelation of His person and His power is the investment He’s making in us. He then expects us to produce based on what he invested.
The farmer will never expect anything from us (a harvest) that is not tied to an investment He made in us (seed):
— If a farmer sows Appleseed into one plot of ground and Orangeseed seed into another, he will never expect a harvest of apples from an investment of Orangeseed or vice versa.
— God will never put an expectation ON you that is not tied to the investment that he made IN you.
— You should never compare yourself to someone else because you don’t have what God deposited down inside and they don’t have what God deposited inside of you.
To drive home this last point, I will tell you about one of the first times I heard the Lord speak to me. I was in Kuwait. I was newly saved. I was watching a VHS tape of Bishop T.D. Jakes (this was when he was still in West Virginia). He used to do an annual conference called the “Back to the Bible Conference.” I was watching one of those videos. Although I was new to God, I knew I was called to preach. So there I was, in my connex (I lived in a shipping container), watching Bishop Jakes on my TV, enjoying the word.
I said to God, “Lord, I want to preach like Bishop T.D. Jakes.” The Lord said to me, “Son, I did not give you what I gave him.” When the Holy Spirit said that to me, it was like all the air was sucked out of my connex. I felt like I had been punched in the gut. But then, while I was feeling down, the Holy Spirit said, “But I did not give him what I gave you!” At that moment, it felt like all the air came back, and I regained my strength. I got pumped up! I started yelling at the television, pointing at Bishop Jakes, saying (in my Brooklyn voice, because I was newly saved), “YO! YO! YOU don’t got what I got, baby!” I laugh about it now, but there is a great lesson in that. My purpose is the ruler by which God will measure my life when I get to heaven. Bishop Jakes’ purpose is the ruler by which God will measure him. God will not use my ruler on him, and He will not use his ruler on me. I can only be judged by the purpose God called me to and the investment He made in me. When you understand this, you can celebrate the diversity of giftings and callings without jealousy!
Our growth is tied to the Word God speaks TO us and the seeds He sows IN us.
We have been looking at this parable for months. In the latter part of the parable, the portion about the good ground, Jesus said the following:
“And others are like the seed planted on the good ground. They hear the teaching and accept it. Then they grow and produce a good crop—sometimes 30 times more, sometimes 60 times more, and sometimes 100 times more.”
Notice the following:
— The person Jesus likens to good ground accepts the Word of God and the context Jesus provides makes it clear that this person is free of competing priorities.
— All this person did was accept the Word of God into their heart.
— Jesus said that THEY grow as a result of it. Did you catch that? Jesus likens the Word of God to seed and our hearts to the soil. He then explains that when His Word is sown into our hearts, WE grow. Jesus did not say that the seed of the Word grows in our hearts. No, He said WE GROW because of the Word. This is a significant distinction.
— God sows His Word in your life. He then expects YOU to grow from it. The Word is not going to grow because the Word is eternal. But the Word will cause YOU to grow!
— The more you get God’s Word down inside your heart, the better positioned you are to change your mind (the way you think), emotions (the way you feel), and will (the way you make decisions) to line up with God. If you make this a practice, you will wake up one day and realize that the Word of God sown in you has produced Godly change from the inside out.
— If you are not growing as a Christian, it is probably NOT because God is not investing in you. It is because you have become one of the first three types of soil. Either you don’t understand what you heard (wayside soil), you only want a surface-level relationship with God (rocky ground), or you are simply focused on other things and God is not your priority (thorny ground). There is nothing wrong with the seed. God’s Word is amazing and life-giving. If it is not working in your life, there is something wrong with the soil.
— I pray you take this seriously and you make some changes (if you are convicted to do so) because if you don’t, you will get to heaven only to realize that you wasted the ONE CHANCE at life God gave you, and you failed to produce a return on the investment He made in your life.
Declaration of Faith:
Father, this is a season of LEVELING UP for me! I LEVEL UP my life by meditating and medicating on Your Word. I take the Word seriously. I honor the investment You are making in me by sowing Your Word down into my heart. I declare that the power and potential locked up in Your Word is unleashed in my life. The seed of the Word does not grow in my heart; it causes ME to grow. I am the harvest produced from Your Word. My life is the return on Your investment. I am the change Your Word produces for all the world to see. So Father, thank You for sowing Your Word in me and for never giving up on me. Your investment in me shall not be in vain! GREATER IS COMING FOR ME! I declare this by faith. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
This is Today’s Word! Apply it and Prosper.