With the approach of Spring, I have been getting ready to plant my garden. This, of course, includes starting seeds indoors. Since I'm a rank amateur at gardening, I don't have all of the infrastructure that my more expert friends possess. So I have small pots of broccoli sitting on a cookie sheet in the back window. The cookie sheet catches the overflow/drainage from the pots.
Anyway, the weather was now nice enough that I could move the broccoli out to the back yard to toughen them up preparatory to their final move into the garden. Once the pots were on the back porch, the cookie sheet was no longer needed and it could be washed and returned to the kitchen for other duty more in line with why we bought it.
As I was washing the cookie sheet I was struck that the stuff going down the drain - bits of potting soil and dirty water that had drained out of the pots - was unwholesome. Good potting soil might have bits of composted manure, bacteria, molds and fungus - things that you would not want in your food. Yet God's miracle of plants is that they live in that soil and produce fruit that is sterile and wholesome. I enjoy going into my garden and eating young pole beans right off the vine. That's the major reason I plant pole beans.
By coincidence (not a kosher word) later that day I was talking with young Messianic who was wrestling with the relationship between obedience and blessing. His question went to whether he could trust the Bible teaching of someone who was not walking in obedience to God. Since the teacher in question did not keep Sabbath, nor did he eat only those things permitted by Torah, how could it be possible for God to bless him with the wisdom and discernment needed to correctly teach Scripture? (This is a variation of the old saw that, "God can't use a dirty vessel.")
Luke 8.11 says that, "The seed is the word of God." If you think about it, a seed is just information that turns dirt into food. The dirt doesn't decide what it will grow, the seed does. So, assuming the soil has the proper nutrients, if you plant pole beans, you will harvest pole beans. It is not the case that the soil will get quirky and decide to give you radishes instead. Also, the size of the crop is not determined by the size of the seed. Watermelon seeds are not remarkably bigger than zucchini seeds.
In the same way, the word of God is a seed - it is information that turns people into saints. And just as a seed thrives when you manure the soil, the word of God is able to bring forth good fruit when planted in the corruption of the human heart.