This is the time of year when many Americans are planting or maintaining gardens. I’ve never tried gardening, but it’s safe to say I would have a hard time with the project. I’ve never been a work outside kind of guy. Because of this, I respect the hard working men and women that help grow America’s food. I know it’s not easy. Like many people, I drive past farms and gardens on a frequent basis, and I see them working in all kinds of weather conditions.
The point here is to say that we may not all be farmers, but we understand what it takes to plant and maintain crops. The same can be said for the Jews and Gentiles that Jesus preaches to in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. That’s why Jesus uses farming and its principles as essentially sermon illustrations in His parables. Even if they were tax collectors or fishermen, they were familiar with farming.
One example of this is the Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13:3-9), a sower being someone who plants seeds in an area of ground:
“And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;
And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the wayside, and the fowls came and devoured them up:
Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up because they had no deepness of earth:
And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.
And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:
But other fell into good ground and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.
Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.”
The point of Jesus’ parable is to show the different kinds of people that hear the gospel, and Jesus says as much in his explanation of the parable (Luke 8:11-15). The seed is the word of God, aka The Bible. Those who give an ear to its teachings but not think much of it will have it taken away by the devil, “lest they should believe and be saved.” Meanwhile, some people who hear it and become overjoyed may believe for a time, but they fall away because of temptation. Other people who hear the message before getting distracted by things of the world are like the seeds which fell among thorns. As for the people that hear the word, embrace it and live by it are like the seeds that fell on the good ground, bringing forth fruit as a result.
Forgive me if you heard this as a child in Sunday school, but which type of soil are you? Are you the kind that is by the wayside? Do you hear things, only to have the devil come and take it away so you do not believe and get saved? Or, are you like the rocky soil which, when you hear the word, get all excited and believe for a time before losing it because of temptation? Speaking of temptation, are there things of this world that cause you to get distracted and do nothing with what you take away from church and or Bible readings?
It could be that you are like the good soil, and that’s great. You hear the word, keep it and bring forth fruits for the Kingdom. If that’s you, keep it up. But if you are among the other types of soil, do not fret. You can change. That’s even if you were once on the good ground and you’ve allowed yourself to get sidetracked by work and pressures of life.
Break out the gardening gloves today and take care of your soil. Take care of business with God. Read your Bible. Speak to Him, and ask Him for help. If you do not, then one day you will be under the soil. By that point, it will be too late.