Ancient sowers did not know what they were going to get when harvest time came.
Without multi-row cultivators, GPS, and high tech pest and weed controls they didn’t know what challenges lay in the soil. Out the sowers marched, row-by-row, scattering seed by hand. Only time, sun, and rain would reveal which seeds would grow and which would not.
Jesus saw similarities between the challenges of seed in soil and the challenges of the word of God in the human heart. In a story about an ancient farmer, Jesus describes the way seeds encounter the difficulties of taking root and bearing fruit.
The first soil type is found on the hard-packed path. Seed doesn’t have a “snowball’s chance” here. The heart of the soil is too hard. The tender tendrils of the seed cannot penetrate the predisposition to hardness, doubt, selfishness, and resistance.
The second soil type appears to be seed-receptive. But it disguises a hard layer of rock. Seed reaches hopefully into the soil but is repelled by the hard, waterless rock. Soil has to be deeper for seeds to derive the nourishment needed for growth.
The third soil has other, competing, seeds growing. Seeds that produce weeds. They wrap around the tender new plants with offers of prosperity and security. “Join us” they whisper. Slowly they suck the nutrients out of the new plants because they have no interest in the new seeds’ prosperity.
Seed grows best in the soil where worldly enticements do not allure. The purity of soil brings out the best in seeds. Slowly they reach out toward the sun and eventually bear fruit that blesses others. This soil requires the water and fertilizer of God’s word and the sincerity of human hunger.
Which soil are you?