December 2, 2011
What is the soil in the parable of the sower?
If you don’t get that one important point, than all four of the examples are pointless.
3 Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.”
The seed is the Kingdom of God (or God’s Word). But the SOIL is the human heart. Keep this in mind when we’re discussing all four of the soils it can fall on. Each of the four soils has had the seed planted in them. Each heart has heard God’s Word.
Did you hear that? That means the seed is perfect. God’s Word has been planted. A living, breathing human has allowed God’s message and good news to be planted in their heart.
It’s what they do with it that comes next. And arguably then, one could say, the condition of the heart is what either holds onto it or rejects it.
The first state of heart is that of not understanding. This heart listens to but doesn’t truly hear (or want to hear). You know this person. They come to church, and maybe not very often. But when they walk out the door, they put no more spiritual food into their Spirit and therefore never really get the message of Jesus. Satan easily picks up the seed that’s been planted in them (referenced here as a bird) and they are easily led astray from the Word by him. Because they don’t dwell on the Word, they never begin to understand it and are lost.
The second state of heart is that of stone. I live in Oklahoma where we have some of the hardest red clay soil. I am also a gardener and this soil is a nightmare. In order for things to grow and be healthy, the hard ground has to be tilled up and fertile soil has to either be mixed in or even better – a raised flower bed that holds soft and healthy soil can be added above the hard clay and seeds will grow. Unless your heart is soft and full of love, it will be very difficult for God’s Word to grow in your life. A hard heart can be caused by a continual allowance of sin into your life. The more you allow it to enter, the harder it can be to hear or absorb God’s word because the sin in your life is blocking it out. A plant on hard ground will develop weak roots and eventually die. It’s the same with a heart heart. The very foundation of His Word is that of humbleness, love and servanthood which bring about and develope a soft soil and a soft heart for sure.
The third state of heart is that of suffocation. What are the thorns? The thorns are anything that can choke out the Word of God in your life. Friends, worries, careers, hobbies, business, materialism and even church activities. God wants to be foremost in our hearts and Satan will find a variety of ways to try to fill our heart up with other things that don’t allow more room for our relationship with God. This state of heart doesn’t hear the Holy Spirit for they are just too caught up or distracted by other things.
The fourth state of heart is that being open and attentiveness. This heart is not hard, it is humble, it learns and receives God Word. It is not easily distracted. It loves God more than anything else. And if they do, they can’t help but share it. As Rick Warren says…”“You were made by God and for God and until you understand that, life will never make sense.” Once your heart is full of God, the seed that has been planted in you sprouts, grows and in turn, produces fruit and seeds of its own. It sows these by sharing the goodness of God with those they come in contact with and reaches others for the Kingdom. By example, this heart lives God out in their everyday life, and people are drawn to what they have. It makes it easy for them to share, because others want what they have.
Reading this parable has challenged me and I want it to challenge you so today I ask these questions for us all to reflect on.
1. Which of the soils above do you feel that you are? What is the state of your heart?
2. Is your heart soft? Have you let it get hardened in any way? Can you trust God to soften it to Him?
3. Are you tired of being a Sunday Christian? Do you want to feed your Spirit more with God’s Word?
After asking myself these questions today, I decided I needed to refresh my heart…how about you?