Preparing the Soil
Jesus, thank You that You did not come to offer religion but to invite us into relationship, into the community of love.
Read Matthew 13:10-23
 The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?”  He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them.  Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.  This is why I speak to them in parables: “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.  In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: “‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.  For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’  But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear.  For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.  “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means:  When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path.  The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy.  But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.  The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful.  But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat do you believe is the condition of the soil of your heart?
As Jesus told this parable, it is possible his listeners could see sowers at work in the nearby fields. Jesus chose familiar scenes to help people better understand the spiritual message. Here, Jesus identifies four types of soil (19,20,22,23). Jesus then likens the soil to different types of listeners. First, the wayside hearer is hardened like a pathway. What makes a pathway hard? What do you think might cause the listener’s mind to become hard? Notice who snatches the Word away (19).The next group are joyful as they respond to the Gospel (20,21). But perhaps it’s more the wonderful music or powerful preacher who excites them, because the seed doesn’t take root. The people in the third set actually start to grow as Christians, so the seed has taken root–but see what happens (22). Can you add other “thorns” to this list? What temptations, problems, desires, or distractions prevent God’s Word from growing in your life? Last, we have the soil we all want to be: the good soil. What is the main difference between this soil and the other three?
As you think about the “soil” of your own soul, reflect upon where it might need softening, nourishing, or weeding.
Master Gardener, I yield myself to You. Do what You must do in my heart and in my life that I might bear fruit.
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