I have read The Parable of the Sower many times, in fact, it’s one of my favourites. And everytime I read it, I assume I am good soil. Not the best soil of course, as I am not a missionary, evangelist or anything like that. I figure I am probably the type who yields a 30 fold harvest, give or take.
One of the things I especially like about this parable, is that all the biblical accounts include the question and answer session that Jesus and his disciples had after everyone had left.
In this, we get to hear Jesus expand upon what the parable meant, and the types of people it represented.
So, as good soil, I skim over the first three examples to get to the part about me, in verse 23.
The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted.
However, as I read it recently, I was a little perturbed. It didn’t really sound like me at all. Looking at my life, I was hard pressed to find anything that I could liken to a harvest. Not to mention one thirty times larger than what I had heard.
To make myself feel better, I decided that this was meant to be an aspirational description than an accurate one.
Thankfully this passage had more for me, but to see it, I had to be honest with myself.
And when I really looked at the passage, I saw a more accurate reflection of myself in verses 18 and 19.
The seed that fell among the thorns represents others who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things, so no fruit is produced.
I know that in my life, God’s message is constantly being delivered, whether it be through a sermon in church, through a passage of scripture I read on my own or through the Holy Spirit’s prompting. I also know that it is often crowded and choked by things I am concerned about, things that seem far more pressing. As a results, words of importance and eternal significance are squeezed out of my life as I busy myself with day to day concerns.
Desires I have to do well, to support myself financially and to take care of things I feel responsible for, take up much of my mental and emotional energy, so that nothing is left.
As a consequence, no fruit is produced.
A little honesty goes a long way, and I realised that I am much more like the soil with thorns.
But there is hope.
From my limited gardening experience, I know that if you have thorns and weeds growing around things you have planted there are some things you must to do stop them from choking your flowers.
In order to become good soil, I must identify things that are choking up God’s Word in me, I must look deep and find out the root causes of these anxieties, concerns, desires.
And then I must pull them up. This is done through prayer, and also by making choices to correct the way I think about these things. Some desires, anxieties are entirely unhealthy or ungodly and need to be gotten rid of altogether.
And then I must guard my heart, be vigilant, and make sure I do not fall into old habits of mind again, and prayerfully seek God’s Kingdom and not my own. This must be a daily effort. When I do this, He will take care of the things that, without Him, become thorns in my life. Matt 6:33