But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” Matthew 13:23
In Matthew 13 Jesus uses the illustration of seed and soil to teach an important lesson. He describes 4 kinds of soil, 3 of which don’t bear fruit. Reasons for fruitlessness described vary from complete apathy, to shallow roots, to being overcome by the deceitfulness of wealth and the worries of this world. These represent the first 3 kinds of soil.
There is a 4th type of soil depicted in the verse above. It is a soil that receives the seed, develops roots and produces fruit. Now I’m not a farmer, but I know enough to understand that fruit bearing soil needs to be cultivated. It gets plowed and broken up. It gets treated with the right nutrients and it gets weeded regularly so unwanted plants don’t choke out the seed.
This is the type of “heart soil” Jesus says we are to have. And just like actual soil, the soil of the heart needs cultivating. What does this look like for a Christ-follower? First it involves more than just hearing the word, it requires contemplation, study, meditation and application. It also requires the desire to grow and be stretched. It requires weeding – in other words, confession forgiveness and transparency. Cultivating involves dealing with our junk. The longer we go without addressing our personal issues the more difficult breaking up our soil becomes and the risks of being fruitless increases. Finally, it requires a deepening intimacy with God. Our connection to the vine nourishes the soil of our soul and produces fruit in and through us.
The cost of not cultivating is high. It shows up in broken relationships, a lack of fulfillment, a dry spirit, and a weary soul. But for the one who tends to their soil, there is deep joy, a stability that stands against trials and troubles of this life, growth and maturity, and fruit that will last into eternity.
See, the problem is rarely with the seed or how it is sown. The problem is nearly always with the soil and its receptivity to the seed.
Are you doing the hard work of cultivating your soil this morning?
“Manly men tend their fields.” – Mansfield’s Manly Maxims
Live this week on purpose,