The Soil that Produces
Read Luke 8:11b-15
...The seed is the Word of God. Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the Word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches, and pleasures, and they do not mature. But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the Word, and retain it. And by persevering produce a crop.
What kind of “soil” represents your heart for the word of God right now?
What has been your experience planting seeds? If you have a green thumb, you no doubt understand the importance of good soil. If you don't have a green thumb? Well, you’ve probably learned this lesson, too, only maybe you learned the hard way! If you don’t consider the location where you are planting, clear away the weeds, and make sure the soil is rich and fertile, you probably won’t experience good results.
Jesus knew that our hearts are a lot like soil. If our hearts aren’t prepared properly, we aren’t able to receive the Word of God. In this parable, there were 4 kinds of soil, but only one was able to produce fruit. Like a well-worn path, some hearts are too hard to receive the Word. Other hearts are shallow and fickle like the seed on rocky ground. They respond to the Word at first but fall away once the going gets tough because they don’t have deep roots. Some hearts are just too crowded. They might want to receive the Word, but they don’t want to weed the things out of their life that hinder the Word from taking root and producing fruit in their lives.
Only the heart of good soil produces fruit as evidence of genuine salvation. A heart of good soil doesn’t just hear God’s Word. A heart of good soil receives the Word, submits to God, repents, and is saved. Fruit begins to grow in a believer's life. Spiritual growth begins. Change occurs.
One significant change that takes place is that a heart with good soil eventually becomes a sower of the Word themselves. They spread more seed and reap a more fruitful harvest. They share God’s Word with the people around them. They don’t keep the Good News to themselves.
Why don’t more people respond to the teaching of Jesus? Bad soil. In Adam, all have sinned. And sinful hearts are often not willing to truly listen to God’s Word. They are not willing to repent. They are not willing to obey Him as Lord. They don’t want to receive His Word and be saved.
Friends, it would be wise for us all to stop and humbly check our own hearts. And before we share the Word with others, pray for good soil. Pray that God would prepare the soil of the listeners' hearts so that they wouldn’t just hear the message but receive it, repent, and be saved.
Lord, keep my heart soft for Your Word. Use me to sow the seed of Your Word. Prepare the hearts of all who hear to receive it and bring forth a fruitful harvest. Amen.
~ Pastor Nat Crawford
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