“Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed… Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”
– Matthew 13:3,5-8
Today, we are going to continue our discussion about the parable of the sower. Yesterday we talked about the path, and today, we’re going to talk about the soil. Remember that the soil represents the condition of a person’s heart towards the Word of God; not just their receptivity to the Gospel message, but their ability to hear the Word and put it into practice in their lives.
As Jesus tells the story of the sower, He is fairly vague and gives very little explanation as to its meaning. After he is finished speaking to the crowd, He shares the interpretation with His disciples, who have inquired of Him about this “weird” teaching (weird is the literal translation in the Greek). In response, He tells them that there are four types of soil, or heart reactions, to the Word of God. The hardened heart is the path that we talked about yesterday; since it has been trampled, the devil comes and takes the seed and it doesn’t get into the person’s soul at all. The second type of soil is rocky and the seed planted in it springs up quickly, but when the sun comes out, it burns up and dies because it has no root. The third type of soil is rich and fertile, but it is also inhabited by thorns and thistles that choke out the new life that springs up from it. In contrast, the fourth type of soil is fertile, and it bears a harvest, because it is pure and free from other forms of destructive growth.
Friend, the fourth type of soil — the one that is fertile and receptive to new growth — is how you want your heart to be, especially as it pertains to your readiness to hear the Word of God. You and I live in a world where we can literally take in “seeds” of truth all day long via books, sermons, podcasts and other media, but listening alone doesn’t guarantee that we will bear fruit in our lives. In order to be transformed by the Word, you must have soil that is prepared and ready. This is why it’s so important to tend to matters of your heart. As you allow your Good Shepherd to care for you and to heal you from the inside out, you can live from a place of His love and be empowered to take risks for His Kingdom! Isn’t that amazing news?
Jesus, thank you for preparing my heart and making it fertile soil that is ready to receive your Word and be changed by it.
Which type of soil do you identify with? How does this affect your walk with God?