What Type of Soil are You Today?
Caring for Your Spiritual Garden
"Then he told them many things in parables, saying: "A farmer went out to sow his seed." (Matthew 13:3)
Gardening can be an exercise in patience. Every year my husband and I try our hands at gardening. We clear a small space in the backyard, cultivate the earth, and plant our seeds. We fertilize the garden, weed the garden, and nurture the plants. Some years we are blessed with abundance and other years we are not as blessed. Lately, every year seems to be a not-so-blessed year. The garden does not produce much. It may yield a few tomatoes, a pepper or two, and one cucumber. The lack of fresh produce frustrates my husband to the point that he vows never to plant again. Yet, I know he will try again because with each year there is fresh hope.
Evangelism is like gardening. We plant the seeds, but we never know what the harvest will yield. In the parable of the four soils, Jesus compares evangelism to the act of planting a field. As the sower scatters the seeds, the little seeds land in different types of soil. The yield from these seeds depended on the seed landing in the right place at the right time.
Usually this parable is used to reflect upon the successes or failures we face when we witness to others. However, how many times do we apply this passage to our own spiritual growth. In other words, what type of soil are you today?
Some Seeds Fell Along the Path
In Matthew 13:4, Christ says that some of the farmer's seeds fell along the path and were eaten by birds. If you have ever sowed a large amount of seed at one time, you will notice that some of the seeds bounce off of the soil and land between the rows. These exposed seeds are quickly gobbled up by the birds and never have the chance to grow.
Today, in church, my body seemed to be present, but my mind was elsewhere. My listening skills were not very astute and seeds were bouncing all over the place. When we are distracted by our daily lives, every little thing seems like a challenge. We complicate our problems even more when we refuse to open our hearts and minds to God's will. Often the answers to life's problems are being communicated to us; but, for some reason, we refuse to listen. Particles of God's wisdom bounce off of us and are forgotten in the span of a minute: just like seeds that are gobbled up by birds.
Are you distracted? If you are, then you are probably missing something very important.
Some Seeds Fell on Rocky Places
We are told that the seeds that fell on rocky places grew quickly and soon withered because the plant did not take root. Have you ever been inspired by a Bible verse or a sermon to the point that you felt compelled to act on the inspiration? How many of these actions actually came to fruition?
There is a pretty good chance that this has happened to you because it happens to all of us. We are all rocky soil at some point in our lives. In these situations, the seeds land where they need to go; but, as a result of the rocks, the plant does not develop roots. Many new believers become rocky soil. Something in their lives brought them face-to-face with Christ. They start their new lives with great zeal, but fail to develop Christian roots through prayer, Bible reading, and fellowship. As a result, their plants soon wither and die.
Other Seed Fell Among Thorns
As a child, I loved to go for walks in the woods behind my home. However, I could not walk through the woods without getting tangled up in thorny bushes. There always seemed to be a vine of thorns hiding underneath the brush just waiting for me to pass by so it could reach out and grab my ankle. Whenever I was attacked, I would stop and try to free my ankle from the vine's painful grasp. There were times when I thought that I would never break free because the vine refused to release me. When it became too painful, I would give up on the adventure in the woods and return home.
In the parable of the sower, the sower's plants were choked by thorns. Just like the thorny vines that would not let go of my leg, the thorns in Jesus' parable would not let the plant grow. Do you have thorns in your life telling you to give up on your journey with Christ? Christ tells us that walking with Him is not an easy path to take and that we will endure suffering for his sake. If you have thorns holding you back, ask Christ to help you break free.
Other Seed Fell on Good Soil
It is difficult to be "good soil". However, on the days that we are good soil, we can bear fruit. For me, personally, I really wish that everyday could be a "good soil" day. I wish that I could be happy and receptive of what God has planned for me; but, like most people, I struggle. One the days when we are anything but "good soil," we must not give up the fight. Eventually, God will work with us until we are ready once again to bear fruit for Him.
What kind of soil are you today? I urge you to think about this question and ask God to work with you so that you will become "good soil" once more. Remember each day is a brand new day full of hope and full of promise.