But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy!
Jesus is so rich in mercy and he is restoring us a new heart cultivated by Holy Spirit.
The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field. Matt. 13:44
When the ground soaks up the falling rain and bears a good crop for the farmer, it has God’s blessing. But if a field bears thorns and thistles, it is useless. The farmer will soon condemn that field and burn it.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Gal. 5:22-23
Since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God;
1 Peter 1:23
Thoughts: God is so rich in mercy. What is the relationship with the soil and the seed? How special.
As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.
““A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.” When he said this, he called out, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.””
“For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.”1 Peter 1:23
If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. Galatians 3:29
The seed will grow well, the vine will yield its fruit, the ground will produce its crops, and the heavens will drop their dew. I will give all these things as an inheritance to the remnant of this people.”
Jesus calls this the parable of the sower. But the focus of his explanation seems to be not on the sower but on the seeds and where they fall. What circumstances and situations allow for these seeds to grow and bear fruit? The answer: good soil.
Jesus does not go into much detail as to what makes for “good soil,” either. How do we ensure that the troubles of this world and our own problems do not stifle growth? How can we allow God’s word to take root in our lives so that transformation and change are possible, both personally and in community? These are questions to be grappled with and worked through for a lifetime.
If it were easy, we would have it all figured out already. It isn’t easy, but I wonder if it might be simple. Simple, that is, in the sense of straightforward and rather obvious. Perhaps good soil only requires three things: humility enough to hear, imagination and creativity enough to dream, and conviction enough to act.
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.”
“All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.”
Test me, Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind;”
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’”
Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you.”
Jesus addresses the first one: “But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields.” The ability to hear and understand God’s message is often impeded by our own assumptions, cultural norms, and biases. I believe humility is a necessity when approaching God’s word. We have to recognize that none of us is a blank slate, and that we all pick and choose the parts of scripture that seem to best fit our predisposed understanding of God. If we are to “walk humbly with God,” we should be prepared to be startled by what we learn when we open ourselves to the Holy Spirit’s work in opening scripture to us.
To be good soil, we must also have the imagination and creativity to dream, to be able to see beyond what is already happening toward what might be possible. This part is best done with other people. The best ideas and possibilities often come when a diversity of voices and perspectives are present—especially if they involve dreams of systemic, cultural change in the world. Even if the changes we seek to make are strictly personal, however, having others walk with us in our journey of faith can help us affirm and change course as necessary.
And finally, to be good soil we must have the conviction to act. While the hearing and the dreaming may happen internally, this third piece is the outpouring of what God is doing within us for the world, our response to what we have learned and received. This may be the most important part of being good soil, but it is also oftentimes the hardest part. Living what we believe, acting on our convictions, and persevering in the face of resistance are not for the faint-hearted.
Nevertheless, this parable calls us to be good soil, to hear and then to respond. Luckily, one grain of sand never makes for good soil; we need a lot of dirt, all bound together. Together, we can bear fruit, nourishing one another and faithfully following God.
Thank you for another great day of Zoom Battle Prayer.