In three of the gospels, Jesus tells The Parable of the Sower, in which the sower is God and the seed is his Word. He describes four kinds of soil onto which the seed may fall, which serves as an analogy to where our hearts may be relative to receiving and acting upon God’s Word. (Mark 4:1-20)
- A soil that is hard and packed down so the seed cannot penetrate, resulting in Satan snatching the word before it can take root and impacting our way of life.
- A rocky soil where God’s word is received and even welcomed, but not allowed to take root. When the first sign of trouble or persecution comes along, we forget what the word says and resort to our old ways.
- A soil that is full of thorns where the word is heard and we want to act on it, but the worries of life, the deceitfulness of wealth, the lure of recognition and fame, and the pride of our own agenda chokes out the word from having a positive effect on our life and conduct.
- A good soil that receives the word, provides conditions for it to germinate and grow so it can multiply thirty, sixty or even hundred times what was sown.
Notice how Jesus observes that people whose soil accepts God’s word may produce different size crops. The more fertile the soil, the greater the yield of the seed, the more fruit it provides in a person’s life, and the more a person can be used by God to fulfill his purpose and will.
Jesus is always knocking on the door of our hearts, waiting for us to invite him into our lives. We have to be intentional in opening the door and inviting him in. Once we invite him in, we need to spend time with him in prayer and with his word as given to us in Holy Scripture.
If we are a part of a sacramental church, we should partake in all of the sacraments that are available to us, for we receive grace upon grace through them. The Holy Spirit that we receive in baptism is particularly beneficial in opening our minds and hearts to the meaning of God’s word and his will for us in the daily choices for our lives.
Being prayed with many years ago for the release of the power of the Holy Spirit that I received in baptism as an infant made a huge difference in my life. It opened my heart and mind to God’s word and helped the soil of my heart be more fertile for the Lord’s purpose in every aspect of my life – family, work, ministry, etc.
John tells us that the Word existed before all else and was God; and that the Word became flesh in Jesus. (John 1: 1, 14) Paul tells us that the Word of God is Spirit and is living. (Heb. 4:12; Eph. 6:17) The Psalmist tells us that the Word is flawless. (Ps. 30:5) May we prepare the soil of our heart so that the Word yields a harvest many times what is sown.
“Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near.” (Isaiah 55:6)
Love your description of the 4 soils,always a favorite Scripture of mine too.Today,I’m mindful and praying about the “seething rage” I notice among most of my fellow cyclists here.They are also hostile to God,religion,or conversations about anything in the realm of spirituality. I’ve been sharing carefully with some of them about the Forgiveness Workshop,and at least one asks me how my Book is coming along.I just keep praying and keep trying to be a Christ to them.Hope to see some fruit,however,I may never see any in my lifetime. Did you get a chance to look at the Workbook I sent along?If so,any thoughts?Glory!Greg
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Thanks, Greg. I looked through the Workbook when you sent it to me, but I can’t find it now. My recollection is that it was quite thorough on the subject.