Each year we get close to summer and people start to get a little restless. There is that summer vacation looming, graduation for some, excitement about being out of the middle school for others. But even with the change of pace, it is important to continue to draw near to God. Each one of us has the opportunity right now to grow nearer to Jesus Christ; to let God’s Word affect our lives in deep ways. Summer might be the perfect time to really dig in!
My kids are constantly digging in the dirt for various hidden treasures. I have mentioned before how our backyard often resembles a scene from the movie “Holes.” They also have tried to plant things. If you have ever planted a garden you know how much of a challenge it can be to prepare the soil because of all the different aspects of growing healthy plants.
It is not so different from what we do here in the church. The only difference is that the soil is your heart and the seed is God’s Word.
In Matthew 13 Jesus tells a parable about a farmer who sows seeds. He describes 4 different soils there. Each one of us falls in there somewhere.
Path – If you picture a well-worn path, dry, beaten by the sun, that is what this is. If you took a handful of seeds and tossed them onto the path, they would not live.
People in this place are people who have no interest in God’s Word at all. They never read it and don’t listen when it is read. They have completely shut God out.
Rocks – In this case the soil looks nice, but not for very long. The top soil looks good, but there is no place for it to go deeper. It is easier to pull the plant out, it gets washed away, or dies because it can’t get any water or nutrients in the soil. The sun comes out and dries it up.
People in this place are constantly up and down in their growth. They might receive what God says but only to have it quickly fall away. They learn the same lessons over and over again because nothing ever sticks.
Thorns – This is when the weeds have not been completely removed and they come back and kill the plant. So, the soil looks nice again, but there is death coming because of the weeds that are allowed to be there.
People in this place try to live in both worlds. On Sunday they are a Christian and the rest of the week they live like the rest of the world. God’s Word is heard and sometimes responded too, but any bit of growth that might develop is quickly choked off by peer pressure or other influences.
People in this place are pursuing God, turning away from self and to Him. They are reading the Bible, asking God to develop a hunger for it, and growing deeper in that as they hear and receive more. When the soil is in the right place like this, lives are changed and people are excited to know God. They love other people and serve.
What is your approach to God’s Word? How is the soil of your heart? What needs to happen to move it toward the good soil? Removing thorns and rocks is not an easy task, but it might be what is necessary to see real growth take place in your life.
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 13:23