In Dalhart, Texas, we are surrounded by thousands of acres of farmland. Some of these farms have great crops, while others fail. Two of the deciding factors in a successful farm are the condition of the soil and the amount of moisture.
We have a highly trained group of people called agronomists who help our farmers have great crops. Monitoring crops and helping make important agricultural decisions, this hard working group helps farmers produce fruitful and profitable crops. Sometimes, the agronomists’ advice is the difference of having a high yielding crop or loosing the crop altogether.
In the New Testament book of Luke, Jesus taught His followers a lesson about faith by using the parable of the soils. In Luke 8, He depicts four types of soil. Jesus describes three soils that each produced no crop and one soil that generated a great harvest. In this parable, Jesus is the sower, the Word of God is the seed, and the soil represents the condition of the heart. Will you allow Jesus to evaluate your heart and be your agronomist?
The first soil Jesus describes in Luke 8 is hard soil. He said, “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds ate it up.” Luke 8:5 (NIV) Common back in Jesus’ day, there were paths between fields that were repeatedly walked on and packed down. When the seed landed in these hard places, it was unable to take root resulting in becoming bird food. This soil represents someone who hears the Word of God and immediately allows the adversary the devil to snatch the seed away. This happens when the devil reminds you of your past and tries to convince you that you are unworthy of God’s love. He also reminds you of a hurtful church experience when someone said something uncaring or when a church missed an opportunity to minister to you or your family. As a pastor, let me apologize for your hurtful experience and plead with you to ignore the devil’s reminders. He is wrong about you. God loves you and has a plan for your life. You can trade the lies for the love of God.
The second soil is shallow soil. “Some fell on rocky ground, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture.” Luke 8:6 (NIV) In the panhandle of Texas, we know all about lack of moisture. Shallow soil describes the person that hears the Word of God and begins to respond, but when his faith is tested falls way. Why? There is no root. For one to avoid the shallow heart, trusting God with the details of life is essential. When fear and worry replace faith, the heart will be shallow. Is there something blocking the work of God in your heart that you need to trust Him for? He is willing to replace fear and worry with peace and confidence. All you have to do is trust God and place your faith in Him through everything.
The third soil Jesus depicts is crowded soil. “Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants.” Luke 8:7 (NIV) Weeds in our life hinder the harvest. We live in a culture full of distractions. We crowd our hearts with the the things we see and hear. The books we read, movies and TV we watch, websites we go to on the internet, and the music we listen to influences the condition of our heart. Whatever you allow into your heart through your eyes and ears effects the state of your heart to the work of God’s Word. If your heart is crowded and full of weeds today, God is willing to cultivate your heart to produce a harvest, if you will let Him.
The last soil Jesus used to describe the condition of the heart was good soil that produced a great crop. “Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.” Luke 8:8 (NIV) There is nothing better for a farmer than when the great harvest comes up, and all the work has been worth while. To produce a fruitful harvest in your life, you must soften your heart to the Word of God and refuse to listen to lies of the devil. You also must allow God to work deep in your life beyond the fears and worries of this world. Weed out anything that would choke out the work of God in your life.
As spring approaches and farmers prepare to plant their crops, let’s pray for a bountiful harvest. Likewise, as Jesus plants the Word of God in our lives, let’s cultivate the soil of our hearts for a great harvest of spiritual fruit.
This article originally appeared in the Dalhart Texan and was written by Sean Vickers.