What Type of Soil Are You Working With?

I remember the first time I ever traveled to Atlanta.  I drove in my car, like I usually do when I am going to a convention meeting.  One of my strongest memories was when I crossed the border from Tennessee and entered into Georgia for the first time in my life.  At the time, there was a construction project right on the side of the road, and the workers were digging into the ground and moving dirt.  What I remember is how red the soil was.  It was red. Really, really RED! I had never seen dirt so red before in my life!

Not All Soils Are Equal

What I took from that experience is the fact that not all soils are equal.  Different soils are made up of different elements. It makes them look different-and act different.  Different soils have different effects on the environment.  Sometimes what you can grow, and whether you can grow is dependent on the type of soil you are working with!

Your Heart Is God’s Soil

This is what Jesus was saying in the Parable of the Soils (Luke 8:4-8).  In His explanation of the parable He clearly says, that the Word of God is what is being planted, and the hearts of people are the soil in which He is placing it.  No planter plants anything in the ground without expecting it to produce.  According to Jesus, the heart of the one receiving God’s Word, the soil, has MUCH to do with whether or not fruit comes forth.

The Soil Determines the Fruit

According to Jesus, in verses 12-15, the quality of the fruit tells you something about the root – specifically, what type of ground it is in.  There’s nothing wrong with the seed, the sower or the growth process – all of that has been taken care of.  But if the soil is bad – if my heart is neither, ready, willing nor able to receive the Word of God there will be no fruit!

Plants Are Pruned, Fruit Comes First

Note that the sower is looking to produce fruit, not plants.  The soil produces plants-the plants produce fruit.  You can’t have fruit without the plant, but the plant is not the point.  The point is to produce the fruit-that’s what has new life in it-the seeds that make new fruit.  Putting a leaf in the ground doesn’t produce fruit. A leaf has life going through it, but it doesn’t have life in it.  In fact, God even talks about pruning plants when they produce more plants than fruit (John 15: 2). God shares His Word with us directly though His Spirit, through the written Word and through preachers and teachers who share His Word.

What are you doing with His Word?

Is your heart so stony that it does not receive God’s Word?

Is it so full of stones that it receives the Word, but it doesn’t stick?

Is it so preoccupied with the thorns and thistles of everyday life God is not as important as He should be?

Or does it bear fruit the way God intended?

What Type of Soil Are You Working With?

Now the parable is this:
The seed is the word of God.

-Luke 8:11 (ESV)