A seed that is sown can only thrive in an environment that supports its growth. Our environment has a significant influence on our growth and productivity. An individual’s environment can be considered from two viewpoints: the one we find ourselves in or the one we create for ourselves.
Dictionary.com defines environment as the social and cultural forces that shape the life of a person or a population. Merriam – Webster defines environment as the conditions that surround someone or something; the conditions and influences that affect the growth, health, progress, etc., of someone or something.
The parable of the sower in Luke 8: 1 – 15, highlights four environmental types or conditions and their effect on our growth and productivity. We see from the illustration that the fate of the seed was determined by the environment it was in. The end result or expectation from sowing the seed is to see it grow into a plant and then produce fruit. This expectation can be mitigated by an unfavorable environment. Let’s look at the four environment or conditions where seeds are sown.
1. Seed sown along the path. The condition of lethargy. When you have an expectation to succeed as a student, in your career, or relationship, to grow as a Christian, but you don’t bother to know on a day to day basis, what you need to do to achieve that goal and also to apply yourself to it or if the person lacks internal motivation to pursue that goal will cause the realization of such goal to become a mirage.
Growth and productivity signify firstly that you have identified certain areas of your life that are holding you back and decided to break away from them. You have also become aware of certain things that will impact your life positively and you are engaging in them continually. When your desire to remain the same in an area is stronger than your desire to change you will never grow and be productive in that area. The stronger desire will dominate the weaker one. To keep your hope alive, you must walk in the truths that you have been shown in the word of God. You must be passionate and consistent in applying truth to your life.
2. Seed sown on the rock. The condition that discourages commitment. A double minded is unstable in all he does James 1:8. In this scenario, the individual loves God and is excited about his new found relationship with God but he is not willing to commit to the long haul. They begin the journey to transformation but lack the drive to see it to the end. If you fail in the days of adversity, your strength is small. Prov. 24: 10. Lack of depth leads to lack of endurance during the challenging periods of life. Time spent daily in prayer and Bible study helps us to grow in our walk with God. With knowledge comes power. Power is the ability to influence or control. The less depth or knowledge an individual has, the less the ability they have to control their growth. Be it in obeying God’s will for their life or succeeding in any venture or marriage, parenting or their job. Any major challenge will put an end to their endeavor. The level of depth a person has indicates the level of their reservoir of power. They have enough desire to begin but not enough to commit. They are okay with getting their feet wet by the river will never swim. Job was able to go through his challenges because he had depth.
3. Seed sown among thorns. The condition of a divided focus. In this scenario, the seed grew up where thorns are also growing. The activity of the thorns did not allow the seed to grow to maturity. The seed could not break forth to produce fruit because another force was draining its energy and contending for space and nutrients it needs to produce. When Isaac dug wells in Genesis 26 and there was a dispute over them, he moved over to another location to dig another well. He repeated the process until he dug a well he had no dispute over. He named the well Rehoboth saying. “The LORD has given us room and we will flourish in the land.” You can hardly flourish where there is dispute and even when there is growth you will not get the best. Your walls of inspiration will always be blocked by contending forces. You can’t stay in an environment that has other things that are contending with the survival of your purpose. You can’t accommodate conflicting interest and expect productivity. You have to get rid of whatever will undermine your productivity. A person can’t have a successful marital relationship by keeping the company of those that will bring distractions to the relationship or those their spouse have serious misgivings about. Either you weed your environment of such influences or you create another environment.
4. The seed sown on good soil. The condition where focus and commitment are high. This is an environment or condition that supports the growth and realization of your purpose. An individual prepares his environment for productivity by having the following attributes:
a. Nobel heart. There is the honest pursuit to learn and know the truth. Cultivating qualities such as being righteous, virtuous, honourable, honest, upright, upstanding, decent, worthy, uncorrupted, moral, ethical, reputable, magnanimous, generous, self-sacrificing, brave.
b. Good heart. There is a commitment to follow and apply the truth. They are devoted to following through on principles that have been proven true to the exemption of others that couldn’t make the cut.
c. Patient and persevering heart. To stand for the truth in all circumstances. They do not allow the challenges of life to sway them from the right path. Come rain come shine, they are true to their word. They are patient and are not looking for short term gains and they persevere through thick and thin. A farmer keeps tending to his plants by weeding and watering it because he believes that it will eventually produce. This makes them reliable to others because people can depend on them not to jump ship when the weather is not favourable.
Growth, productivity, success, don’t just happen. They are enabled to thrive because the conditions available support their existence. Our environment might need to be changed, weeded or to be infused with inspiration.
• Have you evaluated the nature of the environment of your area of concern in recent times?
• When was the last time you challenged your thinking process?
• Have you considered how the culture of your people or association is enabling or inhibiting productivity?
• What are you going to do about the obvious weeds you have identified in your environment?
• What steps are you going to take about your environment in order to ensure that you are on the path of productivity?