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Success Principles in the Parable of the Sower

Mark 4: 1- 20.

On a stormy night, a naval ship is out for its routine drill. A crew member
approaches the captain and says “Captain, captain there’s a ship straight ahead
of us around 20 miles.” “Is it steady or moving?” the captain asks, “Steady and
that means we are on a collision course.” “Send a signal”, the captain tells the
sailor, ‘Move starboard 20 degrees’. The signal is sent and they receive a signal,
‘Move starboard yourself 20 degrees’. The captain is informed, he is upset, he
says, “Send another signal, this is Captain Horatio Horn blower XXVI
commanding you to move by 20 degrees” The signal is sent but another one
comes in, ‘This is seaman Carl Jones move by 20 degrees.’ Captain is irked,
“What insult a seaman commanding a captain! Send another signal, this is
mighty Missouri the Naval Ship, move or else...’ A signal returns, ‘this is a
lighthouse please move by 20 degrees!’ Principles are like the lighthouse. When
talking of the principles contained in the 10 commandments Cecil B D Mille the
Director of ‘The Ten Commandments’ said, “You cannot break the laws, you
can only break yourself against them.” The word of God contains the
principles that God has ordained in the universe, we need to know them and live
by them if we want to be happy and successful. That’s why the word says,
“How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! I gain
understanding from your precepts, therefore I hate every wrong path. Your
word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” Psalm 119: 103-105. Today
we see a simple parable by Jesus where a Sower goes to sow seeds; he sows the
seed and after a process gets the results. On the surface it is a simple story but as
Jesus points out “Seeing but not perceiving, hearing but never understanding”
sometimes we miss to glean the treasure contained in it. My attempt here is to
glean the principles which I call Success Principles in the Parable of the Sower.
So let’s look at the 3 principles and their application to our lives:

1. Law of Sowing & Reaping: The very first obvious law that the parable
teaches us is, ‘The Law of Sowing and Reaping’. This law says, ‘We reap what
we sow’. (Gal 6:7) makes a mention of it. We see that the Sower goes out in the
field. He is an ambitious Sower, he has excellent seed. He is also a wise Sower.
All these points we can glean as we read this parable and by the end of the
parable you will agree with me on the above points. We now see the process of
sowing the seeds, he sows the seed and every time they fall on different types of
ground and finally the parable says- the seed fall on the good ground and what
is the outcome? We see that the ground produces crops in varying degrees 30%,
60% and 100%. What does this teach us? We can only reap when we sow and
whatever we are reaping today in our lives is the outcome of what we have
sown. A man says to his neighbour, ‘You must be thankful to God for the
wonderful farm he has given you’. The man replies, ‘I understand your point
and I should be grateful to God for without the sun, rain, the weather, this farm
wouldn’t have grown this beautiful but you should have seen this farm when
God had it all by himself!’ The moral is simple; you cannot have the harvest if
you have not sown the seeds. Let’s look at the outcome in our lives, if we don’t
like any outcome in our lives, or we want to have a new outcome in our lives,
we need to sow or put in. Sometimes we expect results without sowing and
worse yet we expect different results by sowing the same thing over and over
again. Einstein said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again
and expecting different results.” All the time we think of lack and then expect
prosperity. All the time we criticize and complain and then we expect the
promised land of God like the children of Israel. All the time we eat junk food,
never exercise and we expect good health. All the time, we while away our time
in doing what does not matter and then we expect to be productive and get
promotion, all the time we neglect customers and never pay attention to their
needs and then expect growth in our businesses. This law also tells us that we
are responsible for the situation we are in today. We cannot blame others. The
genetic disposition and the environment we live in may influence us but they
cannot determine the outcome in our lives. It is what we sow that is what we
reap.

2. Law of Inevitability: The second law we find in the Parable of the Sower is
called the Law of Inevitability. The Law of Inevitability says, “Some things are
bound to happen and they will”. In the parable, we see that the Sower with
seeds goes on scattering the seeds and then the law of inevitability starts
working. Some seed fall by the wayside and the birds come and eat them up.
Some fall on rocky ground and as the earth is shallow they are scorched up by
the sun and gone. Some fall on thorns and they are chocked up and die. Finally
they fall on good ground and even here not all the ground does 100%. Some of
the ground produces 30%, some 60% and some 100%. What is this you ask?
Well, you have a good idea to share, it could be a Bible class meeting or a
business meeting that could become a lifetime opportunity. You invite your
friend John for the meeting. He says Tuesday night he will be there. Comes
Tuesday night you are there but John isn’t. What’s happened well you got to
understand that there are birds. The birds will take away some of your seed.
Some things are bound to happen and they will. So instead of getting frustrated
and worked up as to why this has happened we have to learn to accept the fact
and say ‘Isn’t that interesting’! Somebody told John what’s a Bible meet going
to do for you or you are not cut out to do business and he just gave up the idea.
Take the example of rocky ground. John’s excited of the meeting, he even
attends it but then someone puts a fear in him. ‘Boom’ and he is gone.
Somebody says, ‘You know what happened to my brother who started a new
business and John gives up the idea further.’ Now you can again get worked up
and frustrated and say why did this happen? Well you can’t do anything. Some
things are bound to happen and we have to learn to say, ‘Isn’t that interesting!’
Further let’s take the example of the thorns. You call John for the meeting and
he says, ‘I can’t come every meeting. You say, ‘Why John?’ Well you know lot
of garbage piled up in my home and I had to haul it out. You can’t let garbage
take over in your home. Or ‘I had to fix the kitchen sink at my home, you know
you don’t get good plumbers these days’. Now that’s frustrating to hear. But
what can we do? Nothing. There are people who will allow small things to cheat
them out of big opportunities and the parable calls them thorns – little worries
and cares of the world. We have to learn to say when we encounter such people,
‘Isn’t that interesting!’ Finally the story gives the example of the good ground.
The seeds fall on the good ground but even here the law of inevitability is at
work. Some of the ground produces just 30 % other 60% and finally some
100%. Now it’s very tempting to ask, ‘Why did the 30% or the 60% did not
produce 100%?’ But we have to leave it at that. You have people in the church,
business organizations, home, students in the class. Do all of them give 100%?
No. We have to accept the fact that the 30 percenters will do 30% percent and
the 60 percenters will do 60. You cannot spend too much of your time and
energy in correcting it. The Sower doesn’t. He is schooled in the law of
inevitability. So he doesn’t get frustrated. He has learnt to observe and say,
‘Isn’t it interesting. You have to learn to accept and work with it - The law of
inevitability. Some things are bound to happen and they will.

3. Law of Averages: The final law that we are going to see today from the
Parable of the Sower is called the Law of Averages. The Law of Averages says,
“If you do a certain thing long enough, you will start getting a ratio of
results.” Let’s say you are hitting darts at the dart board. You are not an expert,
so you miss many but the more you hit the more chances that one or more of
your darts will hit the bull’s eye. So what does this law of average say is if we
want favourable and desired results to appear we should keep on doing the thing
long enough without giving up. We find that the Sower encounters
disappointments after disappointments as he goes on sowing. His first seeds fall
by the way side and the birds get it, next they fall on rocky ground and the sun
scorch them to death, next they fall on the thorns and the thorns choke them up,
finally they fall on the good ground and it is here that the Law of Averages
comes into picture. He starts getting results, 30%, 60% and 100%. So if you
want to have results in your life, you have to keep on doing the thing long
enough. The Sower had learnt a very important thing and that is not to give up
easily. He had learnt to discipline his disappointments. That’s why he could
go past the wayside, rocky ground, the thorns, the 30 percenters, the 60 to the
100. So if you have a good idea like starting a Bible class or a business idea,
you have to go on sharing it long enough and surely it will fall on good people
if you have the patience to go through the wayside, rocky ground, thorns the
thirty, the sixty percenters. We see the same scenario when the first church was
formed in Acts 2. When Peter and other disciples receive the Holy Spirit and
when a classic sermon was preached on the same day, we see the crowd
divided. The Bible tells us that there were some were bewildered or confused
(Acts 2:6), some were amazed and wondered what was going on (v7), some
mocked the sermon (v13) and finally some believed and were baptized. So we
see the law of Averages at work, whenever you share a good idea, you will get
some perplexed, some wondering, some mocking and finally some who believe.
So the more you keep on sharing the good idea, the good business plan you will
find the believers every time out of the crowd, you are bound to get the ratio of
results but you have to be willing to go through the disappointments and be
patient. You have to learn to turn your frustrations into fascinations, ‘you ought
to say looking at the bewildered, the amazed the mockers, ‘Isn’t that interesting’
instead of ‘it’s frustrating’ and surely you will find some believers. After nearly
thousand of his experiments on lighting a bulb, Edison was questioned and he
said, “I have not failed but just found out 1000 ways that won’t work.” Finally
he lighted up the world by his invention of the Filament light bulb. We see he
believed in the Law of Averages and so did the Sower in our parable “If you do
a certain thing long enough, you will start getting a ratio of results.”
Conclusion: We can only reap when we sow and whatever we are reaping is
what we have sown. To get different results, we ought to do different
things. Some things are bound to happen and they will- we don’t have to be
surprised by them, know it and move one. Finally if we do a certain thing
long enough we will start getting results. We need to discipline our
disappointments and keep on keeping on. Indeed – ‘Your Word is a light unto
my path and lamp unto my feet’. The principles contained in the word of God, in
the Parable of the Sower we have seed today are life changing but the principles
will only work for us if we work them in our lives. May God give us the
wisdom to live and prosper by them. Amen!