I have read the Parable of the Sower many times, in fact, it’s one of my favourites, found in the 13th chapter of Matthew. And every time 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 thirty fold harvest, give or take.
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 disturbed by it. 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 thirty times larger than what I had heard.
When I really looked at the passage, I saw a more accurate reflection of myself in verses 22.
“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 result, words of importance and eternal significance are squeezed out of my life as I busy myself with day to day concerns.
For some it is the desire to succeed, to be financially stable, to be a good wife or mother or friend (father or husband…) that takes up much of our 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.
You must keep watching your soil for new weeds that will try and spring up.
You must pull them up, preferably from the root.
In order to become good soil, I must identify the things that are choking up God’s Word in me; I must look deep and find out the root causes of these anxieties, concerns, and 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, I must take negative thoughts captive and speak God’s truth in their place. 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.