Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty, or thirty times what was sown. Matthew 13:18-23
I wanted to share some food for thought from some of the things God has been teaching me.
Recently, during our Friday morning Bible study, we read the Parable of the Sower from Matthew 13. In verses 18-23, Jesus explains that the different kinds of soil represent the readiness of people’s hearts to receive the Gospel. Soil that is hard packed, full of stones, or infested with weeds is not ideal for tiny little seedlings.
As I pondered this, I realized that I have hardly ever seen soil that is not hard packed, stony, or weed infested. In my own garden and those of all the gardeners I know, the soil is not automatically ready for seed in the spring. We must painstakingly poison or pull the weeds, pry out the stones, and refine the hardened places. This realization led me to wonder if, in the same way that a gardener prepares soil for seeds, there are ways that we as Christians can help prepare people’s hearts for God’s Word.
In John 13:34-35, Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know you are my disciples if you love one another” (NIV). My point is this: what if the only thing stopping many people from seeking Jesus is that they don’t see his love in Christians? What are the things that keep us from displaying Christ’s love?
In what way are we hardening soil? In what way are we pulling weeds?