26 And he said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. 27 He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. 28 The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. 29 But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”
– Mark 4:26-29 (ESV)
Here is part of Rev. Richard Watson’s comment on Mark 4:26-29, from An Exposition of the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Mark: And Some Other Detached Parts of Holy Scripture (1834), pages 334-335:
The fine moral conclusions from this beautiful parable could not escape the apostles, and therefore no explanation is added. They were taught that the success of the Gospel in the hearts of men is as certainly produced by Divine influence, as the fertility of seeds in the earth by the influence of the invisible power of God working in the elements; and that they were therefore to sow the seed of truth, as the husbandman his grain, in PRAYER and in ENTIRE TRUST upon the power and goodness of God to make it fruitful.
This appears to be the great leading lesson of the parable; and nothing could tend so powerfully to excite the Christian husbandman to labour, as to be thus warranted to depend upon the exerted influence of God to give effect to his labours. It was his to sow, and to leave the seed to the secret, invisible, but constant blessing and influence of God, always putting forth its energy in the heart which receives him, and carrying on the work of grace, like the process of vegetation, to consummation.
To this there may be subordinate lessons; but they are not so clear, and the fancy of men must not be suffered to intrude itself into these sacred portions of God’s word without authority.
This one grand truth is surely enough to meditate upon: that God works in the heart of man as certainly as in the elements of nature; and that, as he delights to pour out his goodness in rewarding the labour of the husbandman with abundant harvests, and cheers his hope by the gradual growth of the seed he has sown in faith; so he rejoices over man to convert the barren waste of his withered nature into spiritual fertility, to bless the springing of the seed of every holy principle, and pure and kind affection, and will complete this woundrous work of his power and love, by delivering us up, mature and fit for heaven, into the hands of the appointed reapers.
With firm FAITH therefore in these promises,—for the parable has the force of a promise,—let the ministers of Christ sow their seed, and wait for the increase.
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