Sunday I visited my cousin. I do that often – pop into her house for no good reason other than to let our children play together while I engage in good conversation with her.
I like her house. There’s something calming and restful about it despite the four rambunctious daughters whose voices ring out in shrill treble-cleft notes through the hallways.
I love those girls.
I’m not sure if I can pinpoint exactly what makes her house so endearing to me but I’m pretty sure it has something to do with the trees and bushes that surround it. No matter what room of the house you’re in, the windows will reveal a lush landscape with beautiful trees and flourishing bushes.
We talked a bit about her bushes this past Sunday (no idea how the conversation led to that :) and she mentioned something interesting about a couple of them that are planted in her front yard. . .
It’s odd that one bush could be so dry and deadened while the other, planted right next to it, is so lush and vibrant. They are in the exact same flower-bed and they are receiving the same nutrients, yet one is noticeably deteriorating. I wish I was some sort of botanist so that I could figure out why but. . . I’m not.
Even still, this duplicity in the flowerbed got me thinking about Matt. 13:8:
And some [seeds] fell on the good soil and yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty and some thirty. . . .
In Jesus’ parable, each of these harvests came out of the same soil and yet they didn’t all produce the same prodigious results. Sure, they were all productive but some were less so than others. It couldn’t be assumed that just because the soil was the same that the results would also be similar.
The Christian life: Often, we gage how we are doing and the crop we are yielding by looking at those we are planted beside. We attend the same church, engage in the same Bible study or serve in the same ministry so maybe we’ve subtly assumed that the fruit we are bearing matches the fruit that we are admiring in their lives.
But is it possible that our admiration of someone else’s “hundred-fold” harvest is keeping us from clearly seeing our own “sixty fold” or “thirty-fold” results? Even more, is it possible that we are hiding our less than stellar crop behind their robust one hoping that no one will see the difference?
These things always become clear. . . .
So look again.
We have to ask ourselves: which one of these bushes represents the fruit we are bearing in the kingdom of God?