Under normal circumstances and with the proper conditions, growth in the natural world is a given, a part of God’s natural order. Seeds are planted and crops grow. But as Jesus teaches in the Parable of the Sower, there can be barriers to growth which hinder fruitfulness.

In Matt 13:1-23, Jesus talks about these barriers, naming them as lack of understanding (Matt 13:19), a lack of roots (Matt 13:21) and a lack of trust. (Matt 13:22) It is interesting to note that both the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth can cause us problems. Worry and anxiety cause us to focus on problems rather than on God, feeding doubt and insecurity which both stunt spiritual growth. We would not perhaps expect the benefits of wealth to cuase issues, but the temptation there is to put our trust in wealth and come to depend on its material pleasures rather than on God.

Jesus concludes this parable by looking at which soil produces good crops. Understanding, roots and trust will produce fruitfulness and growth. (Matt 13:23) This is God’s desire for our lives.