The Law of Unconscious Growth—Good Soil
“And the man said, “So is the kingdom of God, as if a man cast seed into the ground; And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knows not how,” Mark 4.26-27.
* In Matt. 13.1-52, Jesus also explains the nature of the kingdom (also, Mk. 4.1-32).
Avoiding the Stoney ground, Mt. 13.5.
The image of a sower has always been iconic.
It represents promise & bounty and intends benefits to the soul.
As every farmer knows, sowing is performed until the whole field has received the seed. Nor does the farmer mix his field with various seeds, but sows different seeds in a new field. Consistent and proper sowing is illustrated, just as Jesus instructs in the Parable of the Sower.
In Mark 4.26, Jesus begins with the kingdom, “So is the kingdom of God,” and then how the kingdom works, “a man cast seed into the ground,” he then waits (patience), “…and the seed should spring and grow up.” This simple process: sowing seed into the soul, and the spirit to bring it forth, largely defines the process of growth within the teaching of the Way. For without sowing seed no progress (growth) can occur. The parable also indicates that the spirit does the growing, not the farmer. Once the farmer casts his seed, his basic job is finished.
Jesus teaches us a critical aspect of the pathway—name the seed, sow that good seed, and the spirit of God will begin to manifest within and without. “For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain of the head” (28). For example, some people sow love on their pathway. They repeatedly sow the seeds of love until it becomes a part of their soul’s nature. Others sow faith. Some sow for greater knowledge. The basic process is to sow until you have completely sown the field, then step back and the field will sprout. Nor do you have to watch it every moment. It is only a matter of time, “night and day,” Jesus says, and the field will begin to show crop. “When he put in the sickle” the harvest is reaped. The harvest is the portion of the kingdom that comes into your life, and which you partake of.
Jesus often tells us what the kingdom is like. He infers an unending harvest, much as the unending kingdom itself. Jesus states that good soil is a vital part of the kingdom. Yet many have not first prepared themselves from within: their field has not been cleared nor plowed, nor the soil in any way turned up; such a field is not ready to receive seed. In fact, throughout their whole endeavor to sow good seed, they may be the rocky ground itself (v. 16).
Lack of basic preparation is one reason why people may pray and pray but get no results. Remember, walking in the Way is the spiritual pathway Jesus taught. Such a pathway will always require some preparation before the journey is undertaken. In the extended message, Jesus tells us to prepare ourselves to receive, much as the farmer does. These fields should be cleared, and the workers should plow the field. Seed yields best in prepared ground.
Are you a person who is good at giving, but not so good at receiving? Are you good at receiving in the physical, but not so much in the spiritual? Have you sown to be a receiver of God’s blessing? Have you reflected upon the kingdom you are about to enter? Mark 11.24 gives us a recipe for our heart’s desires: “…whatever things you ask (desire) when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” The broader notion is given in Psalm 51.6: “Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou will make me to know wisdom.”
The inward or hidden parts are really where unconscious growth begins. Therefore, relative to naming, sowing, praying, or speaking the Word, it is wise to begin with yourself—personal reflection is required. From reflection, a more mature sowing begins to develop. When a person begins to look at basic elements concerning character (board in your own eye), this in itself becomes the plowing. Sowing seed into these basic elements of character or performance will always yield a firm foundation. Spiritual development is never in a hurry—first the clearing, then the plow, then the seed, then the growth, then the harvest.
Recall how the ‘order to events’ is mentioned in many lessons throughout this work. Here we have one of the primary uses for understanding the discipline of proper order. There are as many variations on how to sow seed as there are people, but basic principles will always apply. It is within these principles that the teaching itself and walking on the pathway unite.
You are the soil where the crop will grow, prepare yourself properly. As many have stated, if you are seeking a spouse, then you need to make sure your clothes are pressed. Sowing into your pathway is a concept simple to understand, but how few are dedicated enough to practice? Fewer still understand that the later reaping is primarily directed toward the kingdom, and most directly applies to you as a soul, not just being able to get things (see, Seth & Enosh).
When you sow good seed the spirit brings forth the crop from within (unconscious growth). You become an active participant in the kingdom of God!
Just as in the mystery of growth on earth, so Jesus reveals the mysteries of growth within the kingdom. “The sower sows the word,” Jesus tells us in Mark 4.14. Jesus speaks of spreading the word of the kingdom of God, yet suggests the board in your own eye is the biggest problem. Soon after in Mark 4.20: “But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.” The good ground is intended to describe yourself. The good seed, the good word, and accepting the seed are open to those who wish to participate in the kingdom.
Once the seed is sown the growth begins, whether or not you are conscious of it. It grows night and day. Since the kingdom of God is within you, this means the good seed you sow will always manifest within before it manifests without. You are the first signpost for what is coming. Essentially, sowing the good seed is like an instruction manual. You have to follow the directions. The study of the parables concerning the Sower, as well as the accompanying scriptures describing the kingdom, are deeper than at first glance and require some effort in gaining every nuance.
Heaven, the kingdom, is essentially brought down to earth by you naming the good word, consistently sowing and looking to the fields as if already white with harvest (Jn. 4.35), and then receiving or reaping the harvest as it fully abounds. You essentially name your pathway after that which is righteous, a ‘kingdom pathway’ if you will. You give up that which is holding you back. God will honor fresh sowing. All that held you back, transposed into the new harvest, become a part of the heavenly blessing.
The signs begin slowly. First the blade, or the indication that growth has begun; next, the early sign that a mature crop is in the process of growth, the formation of the ear; finally the fruit begins to show, and once mature the harvest is taken in. A further awakening occurs as the harvest is accepted. Steady and consistent, this method of working truly offers the keys to the kingdom.
There are some who think they are not worthy. When the scribes and Pharisees brought to Jesus the woman caught in adultery, he demonstrated mercy and saved the woman from being stoned (Jn. 8.3). He pronounced her worthy in the eyes of God. Jesus held her up to God, showing mercy, protecting her, and naming good seed into her. What seed did Jesus leave her with? “Go,” he said, “and sin no more.” Likewise do not diminish yourself, even in the midst of sin or great difficulties, follow the instruction to plant good seed.
As you plant the good seed you will find there is greater contrast between good thinking and bad thinking, constructive actions, and destructive actions. Once the planting has sprouted and grown strong, it is then you will begin to see the weeds. In the Parable of the Weeds, also known as the ‘Wheat and the Tares’, Matt. 13.24-30, Jesus explains that a man sowed good seed into his field, yet others came during the night to sow weeds. The owner of the field tells his servant to let both grow until the difference becomes apparent, then the roots of the wheat will be strong enough that pulling up the weeds can be accomplished.
Jesus makes clear that the spirit of God should become more pronounced within daily life, which represents the growth of wheat. Negative thinking, doubt, and despair will show themselves due to what you have already sown, which is the growth of weeds. Yet this contrast between wheat and weeds allows a person to be watchful, even if one by one the weeds can be pulled from the mind.
As Jesus teaches, stick with the vision of the field ripening toward harvest, and stay on a positive course. The spirit nourishes your planted seed just as it does the planted seed of the farmer, and allows the crop to grow within you. In both cases, the growth is spontaneous, both in the physical world and in the spiritual world, even though we may not be completely aware of how the spirit accomplishes this growth. The Parable of Unconscious Growth found in Mark 4:26 illustrates this mystery very well.