I come from a green-thumb family. My grandparents had a huge garden full of delicious vegetables. I remember spending summer afternoons shelling peas with my grandma. My parents continued the tradition of gardening and have shown our kids how much fun it is to dig potatoes out of your own garden. I have even tried my hand at it a few times. I was able to grow delicious zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, and cilantro. However, my inability to stay on top of the weeds has resulted in my husband banning me from gardening. Somehow, the summers I chose to garden were the ones where I was either pregnant, nursing a baby, or chasing a toddler….not a great combination for pulling weeds!!
I grew up hearing the parable of the farmer from Matthew 13. A farmer sowed seed on different kinds of ground. Some seed fell on a hardened footpath and was eaten by birds before it could sprout. Some seed fell on shallow, rocky soil where the roots were unable to grow down deep to save it during the hot summer. Other seed fell among weeds and thorns, where it wasn’t able to compete for the nutrients in the soil. Finally, some seed fell on good soil where it grew, flourished and multiplied.
Jesus later interpreted the parable for his disciples. The hard ground represents those who hear the “Good News about the Kingdom” (NLT), but they don’t understand it and the enemy gobbles up the seed before it has time to grow in their hearts. The rocky soil represents those who hear the Good News and joyfully let it grow in their hearts…but their soul is full of rocks that prevent God’s Word from growing deep. As soon as trials or persecution come, their faith withers from lack of nourishment. The thorny soil also receives the Good News and the seed begins to grow. Unfortunately, the busy-ness of life crowds out the newly sprouted plants so that they die before bearing fruit.
I always thought that these hard, rocky, and thorny soils represented those who didn’t know Jesus. HOWEVER, God recently showed me that I was wrong. He showed me that my heart is like the thorny soil. I get so busy keeping up with daily chores that I forget time with God. The urgent crowds out the most valuable like the thorns crowded out the newly sprouted seeds. God will show me something really important…I have a “wow” moment over the new revelation and then promptly forget it as life’s rush crowds in.
Ask God what kind of soil is in your heart. Are you “thorny” like me? Or is your heart’s garden filled with the rocks of deep hurt? Are there hard places of scar tissue that are “protecting” the sore, tender places of past regrets? Or do you hear God’s Word and find that the message just bounces off because you don’t want to take time to really search your heart?
We need to let the gentle Farmer (the Holy Spirit) stir up the soil of our hearts. It will be painful. It will be uncomfortable, but the healing with be amazing. By letting Him bring those rocks and weeds to the surface, we allow Him to heal those places. Our hearts will become like the good soil where the seed sprouted, grew, and produced fruit. Jesus wants our hearts to be soft, deep, and receptive to His Word.
Dear Jesus, please take the rocks, weeds, and hard places in my heart. Help me minimize my busy-ness so I can focus on what’s truly important. Please remove the rocks of hurt and unforgiveness. Please break through the hardness of my heart so that I can receive Your Word before the enemy snatches it away. Please transform my heart into rich, moist soil where Your Word grows and produces fruit.