Reading through Luke 8 today and the parable of the Sower I was struck anew by the visual of all the different kinds of ground that the seeds were scattered on.
“A farmer went out to sow seeds for a harvest. As he scattered his seed, some of it fell on the hard pathway and was quickly trampled down and unable to grow and became nothing but bird seed. Some fell on the gravel, and though it sprouted it couldn’t take root; it withered for lack of moisture. Other seed fell where there was nothing but weeds. It too was unable to grow to full maturity, for it was choked out by the weeds. Yet some of the seed fell into good, fertile soil, and it grew and flourished until it produced more than a hundredfold harvest, a bumper crop.” Then Jesus added, shouting out to all who would hear, “Listen with your heart and you will understand!”
Luke 8:5-8 TPT
Notice here that the seeds are good- always. They’re healthy, fruitful, and ready to multiply. It’s the soil conditions that vary and thereby dictate if and what quality of fruit is produced.
As a <very> amateur gardener I know that the kind of soil I plant in greatly affects the kind of crop I produce and the overall health of the plants over time. Gravel, rocks, weeds, the wrong pH, the incorrect pesticide, not enough or too much sun, not enough or too much water- all these things determine whether or not the plants not only grow... but thrive.
This passage today reminded me that the maintenance of our own spiritual soil is no less important. Though Christ was speaking specifically to the spread of the Gospel here, I think the metaphor can be carried well into our spiritual lives.
We need to intentionally and diligently keep our soul-soil healthy. The Word of God will always be sowed with healthy seeds, but we need to be making the proper adjustments in our soul-soil to ensure that as far as it is with us, the conditions for the Seed to thrive are present.
Is there enough sun (Son) in your life? Or is the shade of darkness hindering full exposure? Are there spots in your life that the Light doesn’t have access to? Those places will eventually die from lack of Sonlight. There are very few plants that thrive in darkness. So also there are NO souls that can.
What about making sure those seeds are getting regular and untainted (Living) water to drink? Without adequate watering, all plants eventually die. Watering them once a month doesn’t cut it. So also our souls need regular and filling drinks from the the Word of God, communication with the Holy One.
What about rock that needs removed? Unconfessed sin or addiction, idolatry and unrepentant hearts can lay like rocks in our gardens. Some are huge- too big to move ourselves. Others are small, tiny even- like gravel- but have worked their way into every corner of our soul-soil. Even small, the sheer amount of rocks to clear out can have the same effect as a huge boulder. Both kinds we need God to help remove. Seeds cannot grow and thrive when they’re competing for nutrients, sun, water, soil with other stuff. Our walk with the Lord can certainly grow to a certain extant with these rocks in our soil, but God demands more. He deserves more. He requires an undivided heart and a garden that testifies to allegiance to Him only.
And then there’s the weeding that all gardeners know is a necessary chore. Dear ones, daily spiritual weeding needs to become a habit for us. For just as the seeds of truth and Christ are being scattered over our soil, the evil one is scattering his own on the same land. In us. We need to be daily walking through the paths of our soul-soil and pulling out roots of bitterness, vines of envy and jealousy, ivy of laziness, weeds of discord, disunity, anxiety, worry... you name it. As we all know, certain weeds thrive in certain soil conditions. Likewise certain sins thrive in certain people. We all know what temptations we are prone to- and we should be especially on the lookout to uproot their beginnings within our soul-soil.
Daily, diligent upkeep results in bountiful and beautiful gardens. The same is true of our spiritual gardens. With regular maintenance, Sonshine, Living water, and help from the Master Gardener we too will thrive; overflowing our boundaries, feeding multitudes, showing beauty to anyone who walks by.
Dear ones I challenge you all today to mind your soil- today, tomorrow, and always. Be intentional in keeping your ground healthy and ready to receive His word. Start habits that promote healthy and abundant growth. May your garden testify to the Master gardener in your life. Amen and amen.