I grew up in the church. This is a wonderful thing. But sometimes, as I study the Bible, I come to a passage that explodes in my head: “All this time (i.e. my whole life) I thought this, and now ...”
So it is with the Sower and the Seed.
Somehow I got it in my head that there was One Seed for me and my duty was to be the Good Ground. I went through life listening to the Bible preached at various churches, reading my Bible in various versions, taking my various Bible classes and believing I was the Good Soil and that I was ALWAYS the Good Soil.
But during my most recent study of Luke 8, I realized at different times, at different days, even at different hours during that day, I can be – and I am – all the different kinds of soil. It's all a matter of the condition of my heart, my willingness to change, my ability to pause, my sacrifice of time to ponder at the time the seed is planted.
“... some fell by the wayside …” (vs. 5) – When I read the Word, or read a devotion, or listen to a sermon, but I'm not really letting it in, I have a hard heart. I might even block it out even as it is being read to me, intent on thoughts of the week to come or the lady in the next pew over or what am I making for dinner? The Seed disappears from my brain before it even has a chance to get to my heart. I have too much going on in my life that I think I can handle on my own, so I become a cement walk-way inside, and the seed I received just lays there, getting stepped on by the world.
“... some fell on rock ...” (vs. 6) – On the way home from church I'm excited about what I heard, but no one is joining the discussion with me so I allow it to die after just a few hours. It needs further study. It needs more water. But by bedtime I'm worrying about all my work and the seed dies of thirst.
“... some fell among thorns ...” (vs. 7) – At church I have taken copious notes and feel overwhelmed by The Seed I have received during the service. I get home and I allow every thing to crowd around the New Seeds I have gathered: TV, family, responsibilities, conversation, homework, checkbook balancing, shopping, work duties, a new movie and animal care. Whatever was planted drowns and chokes until, by Monday morning, most of the seedlings are forgotten, dead.
“... but others fell on good ground ...” (vs. 8) – I get a full meal of Seeds at church, or I have worked through my daily Bible study, and it all comes together and makes sense. I wait for God to tell me that I am finish digesting, that the Seeds have sprouted. I see clearly how I need to work those Seeds out in my life and I go back to them the next day, and the next. I DO The Seed, going beyond hearing The Seed. And my walk with Jesus is sweeter, stronger.
Being a weak, sinful, variable human being, I cannot physically, mentally or emotionally be Good Soil all the time. But seeing the reality of so many soils in one person encourages me to pray, “God make me the Good Soil today.”
Luke 8:4-8 (NKJV) – And when a great multitude had gathered, and they had come to Him from every city, He spoke by a parable: “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell by the wayside, and it was trampled down, and the birds of the air devoured it. Some fell on rock; and as soon as it sprang up, it withered away because it lacked moisture. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up with it and choked it. But others fell on good ground, sprang up, and yielded a crop a hundred fold.” When He had said these things He cried, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
Luke 8:11-15 (NKJV) – Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away. Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity. But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.