Monday, June 27, 2016

The Soil Samples

Because of an unusual series of events, I ended up leading the Sunday School class yesterday. 

The passage was from Mark 4, the story of the Sower and The Seed. As I studied to prepare, I realized the story is not as much about the soil on which I "sow my seed" as it is about the state of the soil in my heart. 

The picture of the soil in my garden flashed in my mind. I took three canning jars and went to the garden. Black, rich potting soil went in one jar. The dry, rocky dirt from my failed garden went in the second jar. 

In the third jar, I put a layer of the dry, rocky, weed-laden soil, and covered it with a layer of potting soil, because my heart is seldom completely fertile soil. I wish it always were, but I'm not all God desires me to be. Yet.

If we're honest, we all have a mixture of heart-soil that probably fluctuates from one time to another. Sometimes we have rocky heart-soil, sometimes weed-laden soil, sometimes rich, fertile soil. Most of the time, we have a mixture.

As I carried my soil samples back to the house, I considered the actual soil samples I'd collected and sent to the Extension Service a few days earlier. In a week or so, I'll receive a report that tells me what to add to the soil to enrich it. If I want rich, fertile soil, I'll have to do something to the ground to have it.

In that same way, we can have rich, fertile heart-soil if we are willing to make the changes needed to have it.  We can have optimum receptivity to the word of God. If we want it. 

Just as I'll add lime and fertilizer, potash and other enrichments, to my actual garden, so we need to add those things that make our hearts more receptive to God. The best place to begin is with the Word of God, which is the Sword of the Spirit. That flashing Sword can cut through the rockiest of soil, pulverizing the stony places in our heart. 

It aerates and loosens the clods, reveals the weeds (cares of this world and the busy-ness of our lives), and helps us to remove those things choking out the growth God desires.

Repentance and humility are essential, but the Word of God is where we start.

We passed around the soil samples yesterday, and I was impressed all over again about the importance of tending the soil, in our literal gardens and in the garden of our hearts. I want fertile soil, in both gardens, not because I prefer rich soil, but because rich soil is the best way to produce a harvest. 

God isn't looking for rich soil to serve as fallow ground. He wants rich soil to produce a harvest. The better the soil, the bigger the harvest.

As it turns out, I have some work to do. In both my literal and my heart gardens. Maybe you do, too.

Take a look at the soil samples above. Which one best represents your heart? Is it the kind of soil you meant to have? If not, what "enhancements" are needed to change it?

"And those are the ones on whom seed was sown on the good soil; and they hear the word and accept it, and bear fruit, thirty, sixty, and a hundred fold." Mark 4:20 nasb

In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: The Wheelchair Hike
#soil #goodsoil #soilsamples #harvest #disciple #Jesus