Parable of the Sower: Having a Fertile Heart –
Acclaimed filmmaker and one of the vessels God used to launch the birth of contemporary Christian films like Courageous and War Room, Alex Kendrick, brought a message that festival goers and filmmakers alike need to hear – having a fertile heart that’s ready to receive what God has in store.
So he turned to Matthew 13, the parable of the sower, which talks about sowing a seed so that it bears fruit.
“When Jesus told parables, the truth wasn’t meant for everybody. He told parables with truth in them. With some people it would register and with other people, it wouldn’t,” Kendrick points out.
First category of seed –
Sower goes to sow seed, some of it falls on the hard ground where path is, but it doesn’t take root at all because the ground is too hard and packed. Birds come and eat the seed and carry it away, and it’s fruitless.
Second category of seed –
Second type of soil is just topsoil. It’s a little bit deep, but it’s shallow. It begins to sprout up, but the heat of the sun bears down and scorches it. It dies, because the roots aren’t deep enough.
Third category of seed –
Some seed falls among thorns, and weeds grow up and choke out the plant. It doesn’t survive either.
Fourth category of seed –
Some seed fell on fertile soil, and it went down in the soil. Because it was fertile, it took root and began to spring up and visually bear fruit.
It’s the only one of the four scenarios that bears fruit. So later, Jesus is telling His disciples the meaning of all this. He says that the seed that is scattered on the path and the birds come and eat it are the people who have no depth and their soil is not fertile at all. So the enemy comes in and takes truth away, never to bear fruit in our lives. Some people are like that.
The second set of people are those that have top soil and receive the word of truth and get excited about it, but when persecution comes and pressure comes from the world, their roots aren’t deep enough. They end up losing it, bearing no fruit.
Category three is when it falls among thorns and it’s received with joy, but their desire for wealth, and their desire for the things of the world choke out their understanding of God’s word and no fruit is borne.
But the last category is the only one where the people hear and receive the truth, and their hearts are fertile enough that it begins to bear fruit over time.
“I began thinking, Lord, this applies to what I do,” Kendrick reveals, “it applies to filmmakers.”
The seed is unchanging. God’s word is still truth, and it’s always powerful and it’s always true. But the other two things can change – there’s the method of the sowing and there’s the condition of the soil.
So I found myself saying , ‘Wow, thinking about Christian film, Christian media, Christian music, where we try to reach the world and nations for Jesus, one way or the other, the presentation is not as important as the soil of my heart,” Kendrick concludes.
Is the presentation important? Absolutely, but notice the sower goes to sow and what’s most important is the condition of the soil.
“So as a filmmaker the most important issue for me is that the soil of my heart has to stay fertile before the Lord. I have to listen. I have to obey what He would want me to do. I pray that my focus is on you, Lord, more than anything. More on You, and less on Alex in my presentation,” he relates.
“I pray that the Lord would use me as a catalyst to present truth through a film, or a song, or a story, or a talk. Second, it’s important that I have prayed for the hearts of the audience.”
Then Kendrick shared that just this week this principle rang true for him.
He explained there was a man some years ago who saw Fireproof, and he initially thought it was low budget, and he could tell certain people weren’t real actors. He didn’t like it. Later, when his marriage is struggling and his wife wants a divorce, then he happens upon the movie again. This time when he watches it, it’s a different film, because he’s different and it convicted him. It connected with his soul and his situation and God does a work in his life.
“Same movie, but what was the difference?” Kendrick asks. “The condition of the heart. Whatever you do for the Lord, you’ll have critics. If there is truth in your project, it will fall on some fertile hearts. Have the condition of your heart be right.”
Even Jesus was rejected, when someone’s heart was hard.
So you might be asking what can I do? Kendrick encouraged you to do whatever God’s called you to do, but make sure that your heart is right and that it’s fertile so that you can blossom. Then, he suggests we ask Him to help you make your presentation better. Then we’re to pray that whoever hears, has the fertile hearts to hear the message.
Kendrick finished his talk a bit early so they opened it up to questions from the audience. The first question comes: “Will we ever be able to see the very first projects they did?” Low and behold, Stephen Kendrick gets up on stage and opens up his computer, finds their early home movies, and plays them as Alex narrates the action. What a treat!
Then Kendrick brought it all back into perspective with another message God laid on his heart about how God made our emotions. We often think He’s God so He doesn’t have the same emotions we do. But as God has revealed Himself to him through the Old Testament, His emotions of great pleasure and great disappointment and grief are laced throughout the history of Israel as it unfolds.
God goes from total pleasure in His people when Solomon finished the temple, to total rejection and abandonment by His people.
“I realized there is nothing I have felt that God Himself hasn’t felt,” Kendrick imparts. “He loves us and wants a relationship with us. Our God is not a distant God from way up there. He knows and loves us wherever we are. He knows knows what we’re feeling.. And I would even say the pain He’s felt has lasted much longer than anything you or I have ever felt. He’s spent most of His time desiring for His people to come back to seek Him.”
So he urges all of us to ask God to have His way with us. So, when we look back on our lives, though we have a tendency to sin, may He see that we honored Him and served Him with obedience. Amen!