When Jesus walked on the earth he taught the crowds through parables. These parables were like little stories with hidden truth about God and his kingdom. These stories were confusing to many and I have to admit when I read them today I am often confused as well. One such parable is called The Parable of the Sower.
“That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.” Matthew 13:1-9
Later in a more quiet setting Jesus gave an explanation of the parable to his disciples. This is found in Matthew 13:18-23. He talks in more detail about each type of soil. This brings to me the question of what soil am I? And I would also ask what soil are you?
When I read this passage I imagine my inner self as a field. This inner place is what houses my soil. The seed is the truth of Jesus. The truth that he is the son of God. The truth that it is through faith in Jesus that I receive the Holy Spirit and gain the ability to walk in relationship with God my creator. When this seed is thrown to my inner soil a couple of things can happen. To me this is what the parable is describing.
Soil #1- the path. The seed that was thrown out on the path. The seed never even gets planted for the seed gets snatched away before it ever even reaches the soil of the inner temple. The person never even acknowledges or receive the truth of Jesus
Soil #2- the rocky ground. The seed makes it to the inner soil inside us. It is received. We say yes, yes, yes, I believe in the Son of God. We rejoice and worship him but it is short lived. As soon as struggles come, as soon as we are persecuted we turn away from Jesus to chase after other things. We doubt him and forget him.
Soil #3- the thorns. The seed makes it to the Good soil inside us and grows but there are other things also growing inside our inner self. These other thorns compete with this seed of truth. These thorns are often the burdens of our world, desire of our human flesh that steel all the nutrients from the seed of truth and prevent it from growing properly.
Soil #4- Good soil. This is what we all want. The seed is planted in good soil were it is safe and able to be watered, nurtured, pruned and it will prosper to produce fruit that feeds others.
For much of my life I have felt like I was soil #3. My struggles with mental illness, body image, living up to the expectations of others and may own desire for approval of others have been like thrones coking the life out of the truth seed that tells me all I need is to abide in Jesus. I think much of my walk with Jesus over the years have been him working on my inner field to remove those thorns so that I would have this good soil.
Which soil are you? If you soil is not good soil maybe you should ask Jesus to change your inner field. He won’t disappoint.