Living Lessons 6

Parable of the Sower

When I was 11 years old, one Saturday night a group of older guys from my church took me and a few of my friends into the city to see a Motocross race. Motocross is a sport where a group of people on dirt bikes (motorcycles) line up in a row, and they race through a course filled with twists, and turns, and huge jumps through the air. I had never been to an event like that before, and I loved dirt bikes, so to me it was a dream come true. To this day, the smell of motorcycle engine exhaust still brings me back to that night when those guys invested in me. It was an impactful experience. Yet oddly enough, amidst all of the memories I made that evening, one of the most memorable things that I can recall was what the riders said about the dirt.

You read that right, I remember the mud.

You see, In motocross, the riders really care about the dirt they race on. They make their twists and turns on tracks made of dirt, and aparently if the soil has the right ratio of clay, it makes it a lot easier to race on. They can go around the track at faster speeds, and they have more grip as they take corners. Therefore, when the riders were in St. Louis, they were excited because the soil there is predominantly clay. This allowed everyone to have the extra boost they needed and they were all ready to perform at their best. I know… this is a lot of information about dirt. But to those riders, dirt was everything. And oddly enough, when looking at our text this week, I am reminded of the words of those dirt bike racers because in it Jesus had a lot to say about dirt as well.

Jesus may not be tempted to take his Yamaha around a dirt track to race his friends, but he did take a great interest in the condition of soil. In Matthew 13:1-23 He began to talk about a farmer and his fields, and in the story the farmer began to plant seeds in the soil. As he did so, the story goes that only some of the seeds grew into healthy plants. The reason, according to Jesus, was because only some of the seeds were planted in good soil. Some of the soil was rocky, and some of it had thorns, but amidst all of the fields, there was one that was good. One field produced life.

And this is where Jesus took things down to a deeper level. Speaking about that field, and the good soil it had to produce fruit and life, Jesus connected it to each of us today. He said; “But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” Matthew 13:23

Here Jesus made something clear — the soil Jesus is concerned with is the condition of our hearts. To Jesus, our hearts are the soil of our lives from which everything grows. If your heart is cluttered, and if your soil is choked of life, there will be no fruit. Nothing will grow. And then from there, he actually shared with us what good soil consists of. He told us what determines if we have a heart that is good. And what he told us was that we know our soil (heart) is good (fertile), when we become “someone who hears the word and understands it.” 
This text is really good news. And I say that because what it means according to Jesus, is that what determines if our hearts are good is not our ability to bear good fruit on our own. It’s not even our ability to perform “good deeds.” The fertility of our heart's soil, and our ability to bear good fruit is based on if we take time to listen to His voice and understand it. And this teaches us something profound — Jesus is a lot more concerned with our relationship, than he is with our good works. He longs for us to go through the process of taking in the word of God, and letting us shape and form us. And the promise if we do is fruit!

Producing good deeds and good attitudes isn’t something we have to muster up. It isn’t something we have to “try” to do. Jesus promises us that when we understand his words, we will bear good fruit. He will make it happen. He will cultivate the soil of our hearts.

So, today, my thought for your consideration, is that we may all stop “trying” to be “good.” I’m not telling you to close doors in people’s faces, or act up at work. But don’t dwell on the ways you aren't perfect. Don’t make your meditation your flaws and all the ways you could have “handled that better.” Rather, let’s jump into the word of God as a community and allow it to do its mystical work in us. Let’s graffiti our minds with scripture. Let’s paint the walls of our hearts with sacred echoes from God's mouth. And as we do, not only is the promise that it will cultivate good and fertile soil within us. But it will produce in us a life of abundant fruitfulness, all without ever even having to “try harder.”

By Kyle Smith

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