Pastor Matt has been preaching on the Parable of the Sower during the month of August. It has been a good series with plenty of things to think about. I especially liked his final sermon on the series, which talked about the good soil and producing fruit.
The Parable of the Sower is a familiar one to many of us. The 13th chapter of Matthew contains several parables of Jesus, and the Parable of the Sower is the first. It begins:
A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Matthew 13:3-8
I have a new appreciation for good soil after volunteering at Slate Run Living History Farm over the summer. Before seed can be planted in a field, the soil has to be prepared. First, the remains of the previous year’s crop are plowed under. Then, the soil is broken up. In the days of the horse and plow, this could mean going over the field four times before the soil was ready for planting. A farmer didn’t want to waste his seed on a field that wasn’t properly prepared.
In order to be good soil for planting, a field also has to be properly watered and fertilized. If the soil is too wet, the machinery won’t work effectively. If it is too dry, the seed won’t take root. When the soil lacks the proper nutrients, the crop won’t grow. There is a lot to consider before planting the seed so that it will grow.
In the Parable of the Sower, the sower doesn’t take all these steps. He just scatters the seed. He may not be a particularly good farmer. But, in the parable, the only seed that takes root and produces a good crop is the seed that fell on the good soil.
So, how can we be good soil? How can we prepare ourselves so that the seeds God plants in us take root and grow? We have to be good farmers and properly prepare our lives to be good soil. Water with the Word from the Bible. Break up the hard ground by enduring trials and looking for God’s love through everything. Fertilize by spending time with other Christians and growing our faith. Stay receptive to the seeds through prayer that keeps us in constant communication with God. It is only when the seed is planted in good soil that it can produce a crop that is 100, 60 or 30 times what was sown.
Being good soil takes a lifetime of work. But it is only when we are good soil that God can plant seeds to produce a harvest. How are you working to prepare the soil of your life for the seeds that God wants to plant?