This comes from the scripture of the sower in Matthew.
Mat 13:3 And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;
Mat 13:4 And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:
Mat 13:5 Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:
Mat 13:6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.
Mat 13:7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:
Mat 13:8 But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.
Mat 13:9 Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
I have often wondered exactly what the Lord was talking about here. I have heard different teachings concerning what a 100 fold, 60 fold or 30 fold represent but some how these teaching never truly sat complete with me. In the teachings I heard or read the “fold” was representing the yield. As I was meditating upon these scriptures noting also that Jesus said the “100 fold” was first not 30, I believe the Lord gave me insight into what He was saying here.
How many of you have ever planted a garden? Well I have. Although I am not a master gardener by any means the Lord has used the gardening to teach me things.
Say I want to make plant starts. For those of you who may not know what that is; it's when you get those egg carton looking containers, put some soil in them, plant your seed and water and wait for your new baby plants to start sprouting. Most of those containers have 8 or more little wells for you to plant your seeds but for math sake lets say 10.
When I plant my seeds in each well I expect a sprout to come up in each one. I know some plants require 2 or 3 seeds in each well but I am trying to keep it simple.
So for the sake of simplicity, if I plant 10 seeds I expect to get 10 sprouts. If 10 sprout come forth I have a 100 fold on the seeds I planted. They all have produced a plant. The plant has only just begun to grow however. If when the plant gets a little larger 3 of them whither away and die did I still get my 100 fold on my seed? The answer is: YES.
If I plant the same 10 seeds and only 6 sprouts pop up. What was the “fold” on the seed I planted? Yes, 60 fold.
If I plant the same 10 seeds and only 3 sprouts pop up, what was the fold on the seed I planted? Yes, 30 fold.
I know I am making this ridiculously simple but I feel it is important because this has been a mystery for a long time. This is how the Lord explained it to me.
If I plant 100 seeds I expect 100 plants to come up. When I get the 100 plants I received 100 fold on my original 100 seeds. Fold is NOT yield.
As in my example I can get 100 fold on seeds meaning they produce a plant but the plant can die, be eaten by bugs, get sun scorched before it ever gets to the point of producing a harvest. This is what Jesus was talking about.
It is not 100x, or highest possible yield. It is getting 100 percent on the original investment of grain or whatever has been sowed; whether it be money, goods, time...whatever.
If I am an investor I expect to get my original investment back (the fold) plus the yield or the increase.
Anyone who has done any type of gardening or farming knows different plants produce different yields and have different growing seasons before they produce their harvest. Some plants like trees can take years before they produce fruit. While other plants like tomatoes and okra are seasonal and will produce a yield in a fairly short time.
All the plants in the story of the sower Jesus spoke of produced a “fold” if they sprang up, the ones eaten by birds did not produce a “fold” but not all of them produced a “fold” gave a harvest. Jesus goes on to explain what he meant in the parable as to why not all the seeds planted would be able to produce.
Mat 13:18 Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower.
Mat 13:19 When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.
Mat 13:20 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it;
Mat 13:21 Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.
Mat 13:22 He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.
Mat 13:23 But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
In Mat 13:23 Jesus goes on to say that the one who bears fruit is the one who ground has been tilled and fertilized. The one who hears God's word and Understands it or is enlightened by it. But not only hearing but action tied into hearing. To hear and to do nothing will not produce fruit. A main of understanding knows how to apply Godly wisdom and understanding.
So for instance I am teaching you now about “fold” and “yield”. What is the purpose for this teaching? I am sowing a seed of revelation into you right now as you read this. What should be the expectation? I expect that you would have understanding of the difference of “fold” and “yield” but why should that matter? Because there are things in each of our lives that we have seen the “fold” on we just didn't realize that it was that. We were looking for the harvest but the “fold” has to come first. Then the harvest comes. If the plant never grows it will not produce a harvest. So there are many plants out there right now that are seemingly not producing fruit. Maybe you have been praying for a love one to come into the Kingdom of God. You have planted the seed. There is a plant but you haven't seen the fruit yet. Don't get discouraged, some plants take longer to produce the fruit. Keep watering, keep fertilizing, keep thanking God for you harvest coming.
Another thing, once the plants start producing fruit there is an optimum time for harvesting. If you miss that timing the fruit will whither or dry up. Some plants that is what you want; like beans or plants you are using to produce more seed for a following sowing season. But to get a harvest you have to GO and get it. The harvest doesn't jump in your baskets for you. It requires work to get your harvest and to maintain your garden to get optimum yields.
Also, certain types of plants have greater “yields” than others. One year to the next the same kind of plant can change in yield based upon the weather, water, sun and other factors. So it is in the Kingdom of God.
Is this helping? I hope so.
I know for those of you who garden you are probably having all kinds of other things that can happen to your plants while gardening pop into your minds. Good. That means God is using this teaching to stir revelation inside of you that you can use to produce first a “fold” then a “yield” in your life or the lives of those around you.
Jesus goes on to expound more in the following scriptures of what the different growing conditions will produce and what the weed seeds are and the good seeds and the good ground. These are all very important factors for us receive 100, 60 and 30 “fold” on the seed sown but remember we are looking for the “yield”. How much can one healthy plant produce under the best growing conditions?
Now let us look at ourselves. What kind of plant do you consider that you are? Are you example #1 seed sown by the wayside? #2 seed sown on stony ground? #3 seed sown among thorns? #4 seed sown in good ground? Can you say that you are giving the Lord a 100 fold on the seed He has sown in you? Are you producing fruit? We are told in Genesis 1:28 “be fruitful and multiply” Fruitful people will produce more fruitful people. Are you producing fruit? What kind of fruit are you producing. Remember, weeds produce fruit too.
Let us be healthy plants that are producing fruit for God's Kingdom. Let us also actively gather the fruit that is now ready for harvest. God said it is time for the Harvest to be reaped. Lest be busy gathering. One last thing, Some fruit looks good straight off the plant, some don't. Not all fruit looks appetizing straight off the plant; once it has been plucked it must be washed and prepared.