Every blessing has a cost attached to it, and that cost for the Pilgrims in 1620 was immense. 102 of them set sail for a new world only to have their numbers reduced by almost half the first winter. 45 souls died chasing the dream of freedom of worship. The new land was the promise, and their ship sat anchored at Cape Cod waiting for them to possess their new land. However, there was one task at hand that would take precedence over possession and that was unity. 41 men developed, penned, and formed the Mayflower Compact before a single foot touched dry earth. The compact unified them in their wins, losses, and struggles. Their resolve had to trump their temptation to give up and they would need that in the coming weeks.
Our resolve is to remain faithful to God despite the struggles we face. God never called us to performance, he called us to faithfulness. Fruitfulness will be the return on the investment of faithfulness.
Jesus speaks a parable, and, in the books of Matthew and Mark, he describes the urgency in the message when he commands the reader to listen and hear. When he spoke this challenge,, it was concerning the harvest. He gave four types of soil in comparison to the character of the heart of man. Packed soil, rocky soil, thorn infested soil, and finally a good soil. Stubborn, shallow, distracted, and receptive. 25 percent of the soil was considered good for producing a harvest. 3 out of the 4 were high risk-low return with 2 of those soils having potential but stubbornness and distraction would leave their yield anemic.
Jesus said “listen,” the correct soil would produce a harvest of 30 percent, 60 percent and 100 percent increases. The numbers have significance when mentioned by Jesus. 100 is the number of promise and when the heart is receptive hundreds will know Jesus. 60 is the number of support or help, and this yield will help or support the harvest to the hundreds. 30 is the number of authority, and, although is the smaller of the three numbers, it quite possibly has the ability for the greater increase. With the authority of Christ to speak and proclaim the gospel to the rest, the increase has the potential for exponential returns.
The seed is the seed. Jesus calls it the word planted in our hearts. The soil is what produces a harvest. Jesus calls the soil the heart of mankind. The most important aspect is not the amount of increase. The Pilgrims disembarked from the Mayflower 401 years ago, unified in their hearts. Their soil was fertile for planting and for receiving a harvest. For the Pilgrims and for us today it’s not the number, it’s the obedience to faithfulness. Jesus never called us to a number or a performance; he called us simply to faithfulness, and out of good soil will come fruitfulness.
I challenge you to become more faithful in these last days. Become good soil, and produce a return.
Let’s talk more about this Sunday at Christpoint Church on the square in Sparta. We’re real people, living real lives, serving a real God. Welcome home.
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