“Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds. As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them. Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots, they died. Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants. Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted! Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”- Matthew 13:3-9.

I am one of those people who have a black thumb. I say this because even with the best of intentions and effort, plants do not last long under my care. But I do know you need good soil, good seed and a skilled, and more importantly, attentive farmer/gardener. If you don’t have those things, you can’t expect to have a healthy crop. 

That is the message Jesus gives us in the parable of the sower found in Matthew 13.

In the parable of the sower, Jesus compared the condition of our hearts to soil types. The hard path represents the heart hardened to God’s Word. The rocky soil represents a shallow heart unable to withstand trouble or persecution. The soil choked with weeds represents a heart distracted by worries and prosperity. And the fertile soil represents a heart that produces a fruitful life. How can you take care of your heart soil today?

Both soil and hearts need plowing to allow seed to settle deep enough to grow and to create paths for roots. Sometimes God plows our lives with trials and tough times that the soil – our life – can turn upside down. The Bible clearly teaches that God loves those who are His children, and He “works all things together for good” for us (Romans 8:28). So that must mean that the trials and tribulations He allows in our lives are part of the working together of all things for good. Therefore, for the believer, all trials and tribulations must have a divine purpose. That purpose is to help us grow more and more into the image of His Son.

Soil and hearts also need proper fertilizing. For plants, the proper balance of water and nutrients leads to the greatest growth and highest yield. Likewise, our hearts need a constant and balanced diet of prayer and Bible study, fellowship and worship. Then we can yield the fruit of service and giving, ministry and outreach.

Our goal should be for the garden of your heart to be so healthy that it can grow more fruit.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How would you describe the “soil” of your heart and soul at this time in your life?
  2. What might help break up hard soil? Get rid of rocks? Pull up weeds?
  3. What are the weeds that prevent growth and fruitfulness in a person’s life?
  4. What can you do this week to fertilize the soil of your hearts?