“Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds. As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them. Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots, they died. Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants. Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted!” Matthew 13:3-8
Many times, I’ve heard this passage of Scripture referring to reaching out to those who are lost or do not know God. The seed represents the Word of God and the different types of ground refers to the condition of the person’s heart who is hearing the words. While this is an accurate interpretation of this portion of Scripture, I wanted to personalize these words and focus on the condition of my heart.
This is the easy part. If the seed is the Word of God, then I wanted to look at the different ways the Master Farmer sows seeds in my life. Church services and reading the Bible are great ways that His Word is imparted to us, but there are other ways the seeds of His Word are sown into our lives: Bible studies, fellowshipping with friends, being surrounded by His creation and seeing His Word all around us and praying the Scriptures. There are also people God places into our lives to sow seeds of His Word such as pastors and their wives, mentors and ministers. All of these also serve to till the soil of our hearts and prepare it for the seeds that will be sown.
Now, for the not as easy part–self-evaluation. I looked at the condition of my heart and how its condition helps or hinders my spiritual walk, and ultimately, my relationship with God. The hard soil or hardened heart is where nothing grows, nothing even sticks to this type of soil or heart, and the seeds just roll off. This heart doesn’t even want to hear the Word of God. The shallow soil or shallow heart is ground where the seeds that have been cast settle and take root, but the soil is shallow so the roots don’t go deep. When the smallest of storms come through, the plant that has begun to sprout is easily uprooted. Here, the Word of God only reaches the surface. Then there’s the weedy soil or heart full of distractions. Seeds will take root, but there are so many weeds surrounding the plant that the plant gets choked out. This is like the distractions in our lives that take our attention and push out the things of God. Finally, there is the fertile soil or good heart. Seeds take root, the roots grow deep and the plant comes forth strong and healthy.
There’s no question, we all want to have a heart likened to the fertile soil, where the seed of God’s Word is nurtured and the roots go deep so that we grow and produce good fruit. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. The soil of our heart changes and we need to work at it to keep it soft and fertile. Just like a farmer prepares the ground to receive the seed he is about to plant, our Master Farmer prepares our heart for the truths of His Word.
Situations, trials and times of rejoicing are all things that can affect the condition of our heart. All can cause us to harden or soften our heart. Life brings many distractions which can grab our attention and pull us away from catering to our fields. It’s not long before the things of God take a back seat and all that has been planted is easily uprooted.
We must be diligent and tend to the condition of our hearts. Every situation that comes our way, good or bad is an opportunity for us to till our heart and draw closer to God. Every moment we have to enter into His courts with thanksgiving and into His presence is another moment where the condition of our heart is nurtured. Every verse read or sermon heard is another way we grab a hold of seeds and plant them in the soil of our hearts. Then we can harvest a crop full of the fruit that has been produced.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23
Hosea 10:12 tells us, “Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of love. Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and shower righteousness upon you.”
What type of soil does your heart represent? How are you tilling the soil of your heart to prepare it for the seeds God is trying to plant?