And don’t allow yourselves to be weary or disheartened in planting good seeds, for the season of reaping the wonderful harvest you’ve planted is coming!
Galatians 6:9 TPT
For over three and a half decades, I have been observing our Nebraskan fields and yields, and I’ve noted some remarkable parallels between the physical and spiritual crops and the conditions which can inhibit fruitfulness. I have concluded that if we want to have physical and spiritual fruitfulness, there are two things we must have. Without them, there is little hope of a plentiful harvest. First, I’ll offer an illustration in the physical realm.
Sudden Death Syndrome
Two years ago, my husband planted two different kinds of soybean seed in a field. One was resistant to a deadly varmint called cyst nematodes, the other was not. Both of these crops looked lush and beautiful, until one day in early August when the nonresistant field began to turn, almost overnight to an unseasonal yellow that is the tell-tale sign of Sudden Death Syndrome.
Certainly, the name sounds scary, and it is terrifying to a soybean farmer because it’s a silent killer of crops. You see, the female cyst nematode—even the name is gross—stealthily attaches to the root and creates a cyst-like structure to live in. She quietly hijacks the plant’s nutrition and creates an environment that is beneficial for her but not the plant. And in the meantime, the damage she does to the roots allows an opportunistic fungal disease to ravage the plant above ground, and it yields the Sudden Death Syndrome.
Here is the main thing I want you to remember from this agricultural illustration: According to one source, “Farmers may or may not see aboveground symptoms, however, yield losses can be significant even when no symptoms are visible.” So, track with me. It looks like death came swiftly to the soybean field. One day It seemed verdant and vigorous and the next it was turning yellow. The sobering fact is: the roots and the inside of the plant had been rotting for weeks.
Sudden Spiritual Death
We have all seen it in the lives of “professing” believers around us. For a time, the foliage of their life appears to flourish! It seems that it will bear a bumper crop of good fruit in season but something happens below the surface of their lives and Sudden Spiritual Death occurs.
There are really only two solutions for preventing Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS) in soybeans, and I think we can apply this “folksy” wisdom to our spiritual lives.
Two Things Needed
Two things are necessary to thwart SSD—good Seed and good soil. Jesus addressed this very issue as he explained to the disciples why some people have fruitful spiritual harvest and others. Read Matthew 13:1-13 and answer the following questions.
To prevent Sudden Spiritual Death in our fields, the most effective way to is to plant the good seed that has been treated to resist the invasion of the cyst nematodes.
o What is the good Seed you can plant in your life?
o How does this good Seed give you the power to resist the invasion of sin?
o Name some ways you can “plant” this seed?
Unfortunately, the cyst nematode can live in the dirt for up to 10 years and reproduce up to five times a year, so prevention is the best way to stop it from affecting your harvest. Read the parable over again and answer the following questions:
o According to the parable, what makes the soil good in your spiritual lives?
o List some of the hardened areas of your life.
o List some of the thorn-infested areas of your life.
So, how can you work on getting good soil and good Seed?
Here’s what I use: the Selah bible study method encourages spiritual fruitfulness. The Selah Bible Study process provides a structure to read the Word five days in a row…but actually, the Word is reading me. The Holy Spirit uses it to point out areas in my life where I sin, and I confess my sin. Then, the Word is deeply implanted into the soil of my heart.
If you are interested in learning more about plowing up your fallow ground, planting good Seed, and reaping a spiritual harvest contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org!