The Soil of the Heart
One of the most well known parables I think, is the beautiful parable of the sower from Matthew 13:1-23. Jesus, stepping into a boat to preach to the large crowd gathered on land, begins to teach in parables; a way of teaching that connects things familiar with the people to the heavenly, the kingdom of God, while adding a level of mystery and vagueness to it. So Jesus preaches about a sower seeding the fields and describing how some seed lands: on the road, on some rocky soil, among thorn bushes and some among the good soil. To us, this may have seemed like bad farming techniques however, the farmer would have went and tilled the seed into the ground after scattering it in: a detail not mentioned in the parable to add to its mystery. As it was a society built around agriculture, even those who did not work on the farms had some understanding of the profession, so the picture Jesus was painting with the parable for the people was something relatable.
Notice how within the parable itself little focus is placed on the seed. It is presumed that every seed is able to sprout and grow to have harvest. Notice also the lack of focus on the sower himself. He goes about throwing the seed and having it land everywhere, as is described in the numerous amounts of spots it did land. The seed and farmer are both downplayed in the parable, however, they are the most important. Understanding however that the sower is representing God and the seed is representing the word that comes from God, allows us to dive deeper into this beautiful parable.
Central to this Gospel, is where the seed lands. In all cases except one the seed lands on a surface not able to support and sustain life. It is either stepped on, eaten, or over taken by the thorns. Our hearts are indeed the surfaces on which the seed can land. Our hearts are the fields that the word of God indiscriminately reaches out to fall and take root into. The seed so desires to take root and produce the fold, however, it needs the good soil of the heart to fall onto.
It needs the good soil of the heart which is willing to accept it in the face of challenges the message bears. It needs the good soil of a faithful person who is willing to take care of it: the one who is able to ask for forgiveness when needed, offer mercy when able to, and one who is able to imitate the God of Love, who loves indiscriminately. The seed needs the soil of the heart which is dedicated to the word of God, instead of the words of this world. It is a special seed, a challenging seed, that requires the fidelity of a farmer who is determined to make the seed grow, and produce a hundredfold. The seed needs the good soil of someone who acknowledges its presences and who responds to the call that the special seed brings.
The word of God needs the soil of our heart to be open and available, willing and accepting, focused and learning. The soil of our hearts cannot be the soil that only grows the seeds of this earth. The seeds of power, money, exclusion and division. The heart of the Christian, whom the word of God has touched, and they accepted, must be a heart that imitates the giver, the initiator. It must be a heart that loves truly, a heart that is open to everyone and a heart that brings others to Christ as well.
The word of God needs the soil of the heart where it is able to flourish and “accomplish that which I purpose and succeed in the thing for which I sent it” ( Isaiah 55:11.) God sends his word all throughout the entire world, through every age. Time and time again we see a hear people who have received Gods seed, and have responded in a way that allows them to be truly fruitful. Within the church we acknowledge these people as saints; people who truly plant the seed of Gods word in their life, and apply it to the situation they are living in, in every way possible.
Unlike some unimportant text, email or message I receive, responding to Gods call, requires the utmost importance and attention. The seed of God reaches out to everyone and it is up to us to respond to it. It is up to us, with the grace of God to continually making the soil of our heart good soil, and not the rocky soil, the thorny soil or the thin soil. Through the help of God and through the help of the example of the saints we are called to grow the seed of Gods word into a hundredfold
What type of soil is your heart?
How can you improve the soil of your heart?
Have you planted the seed of God in yourself?