Sunflowers sprout in a carefree manner all over the world. Pollinated by bees, the plants spring up on the sides of highways, under bird feeders, and across fields, meadows, and prairies. To produce a harvest, however, sunflowers need good soil. Well-drained, slightly acidic, nutrient-rich soil “with organic matter or composted,” says the Farmer’s Almanac, finally produces tasty sunflower seeds, pure oil, and also a livelihood for hard-working sunflower growers.
We also need “good soil” for spiritual growth (Luke 8:15). As Jesus taught in His parable of the farmer scattering seed, God’s Word can sprout even in rocky or thorny soil (see vv. 6–7). It only thrives, however, in the soil of “honest, good-hearted people who hear God’s word, cling to it, and patiently produce a huge harvest” (v. 15
Young sunflowers are just as patient in their growth. Following the sun’s movement throughout the day, they turn sunward daily in a process called heliotropism. Mature sunflowers are just as deliberate. They turn eastward permanently, warming the face of the flower and increasing visits from pollinator bees. This in turn produces a greater harvest.
As with those who care for sunflowers, we can provide a rich medium for God’s Word to grow by clinging to His Word and following after His Son—developing honesty and a good heart for God’s Word to mature us. It’s a daily process. May we follow the Son and grow.
What’s the condition of your spiritual soil? Rocky, thorny, or rich in spiritual “nutrients”? Why? When you follow the Son daily, how does this practice impact your honesty and heart?
Luke’s gospel is different from the other three gospels—Matthew, Mark, and John—in several ways. First, Luke was written by the only gentile gospel writer (and the only gentile contributor to the New Testament). Also, while Matthew and John were eyewitnesses to the events they recorded, and it’s believed that Mark recorded Peter’s memoirs, Luke’s gospel was the result of careful research (Luke 1:1–4). Being a doctor (Colossians 4:14), Luke uniquely shows interest in medical matters. For instance, while all four gospels record Peter’s attack in the garden of Gethsemane on Malchus, the high priest’s servant, only Luke tells us that Jesus healed him (Luke 22:51). Luke also is interested in how women fit into the story (8:1–3). Finally, Luke’s gospel was volume one of a two-volume history (along with Acts). In Luke and Acts together, Luke provides more New Testament content than any other New Testament writer, including Paul.