Have you ever planted a garden? There is a lot of work to growing a garden of flowers or vegetables. You have to dig up the soil, plant the seeds or plants, water them, fertilize them, weed them, and keep the bugs off them. The work may not be fun, but when the harvest comes, we certainly enjoy eating the vegetables and enjoying the pretty flowers.
One day, Jesus told a story or parable (a story that teaches a lesson) to a group of people. He often told stories to the people to help them understand His message better. He told them about a farmer who planted some seeds. As the farmer scattered the seeds in his field, some of them fell on the walking path, and the birds ate them. Some other seeds fell on rocky ground. As those seeds sprouted, they wilted and died under the hot sun because they didn’t have deep roots. Then part of seeds fell among weeds, so the weeds choked out the baby plants. But some of the seeds fell on good, fertile soil, and they grew and produced a bountiful crop.
Jesus wasn’t really trying to teach the people a lesson about farming. His parable had a deeper meaning that He was trying to get them to understand. In Jesus’ story, the seeds represent the Word of God, and the soil represents the people who hear the Word. Many times, people hear the Word of God, but they don’t understand it. They don’t really take it in. That is like the seeds on the walking path. The evil one comes and takes away the seeds that have been planted in their heart before it has the opportunity to grow in their life.
The seeds that fell on rocky soil represent those who hear the Word and receive it with great joy, but when the newness and excitement wears off, they drift away because they don’t have deep roots.
The seeds that fell among the weeds represent people who hear God’s Word and believe what it says, but soon the message is crowded out by the worries of life and the desire to get more things. If seeds are planted in a bunch of weeds, the weeds will soon take over!
A person who hears God’s Word, tries to understand what it says, and put it into practice in their daily life is like good soil. In good soil, the seeds take root, grow, and produce a plentiful harvest. That is the kind of soil that Jesus wants us to be. Jesus said in Matthew 13:23, “”But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty, or thirty times what was sown.” What kind of soil are you?
Let’s say our prayer together. Dear Jesus, please help us to be like the good soil. Help us to listen to God’s Word, put it in our hearts, and live it out daily. Then we can produce a bountiful harvest living a good life and witnessing to others about You. In Your name we pray, Amen.
Ann Moody is pastor of Wilkesville First Presbyterian Church and the Middleport First Presbyterian Church. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author.